As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition June 2018
On April 19, 2018, Mayor Richard Molina stepped to the lectern at the Edinburg City Hall Courtyard to give the State of the City Address.
Good evening everyone; I’m so grateful to see you here tonight. I’m told a good speech should be just like a comet, dazzling, eye-opening and over before you know it.
We won’t make this too long. But I am here tonight because part of my job – as your mayor – is to report to you on how our city is doing. That’s what our State of the City Address is really all about.
This year, we wanted to make sure that we’re reaching the people who matter the most. That’s you. The people who live, work, and learn in Edinburg; this city is yours.
The council members and I are the people you have elected to be its caretakers. We want you to know, that everything we do will always benefit the citizens of Edinburg.
It’s a priority for us to make every resident feel like he or she is being treated with respect and fairness. It’s a priority for us to make sure that we, as a city, deliver the services that you need every day.
I want you to feel like you’ve been heard. I want you to feel like you’re protected. That means more police officers patrolling our neighborhoods and firefighters who have the best equipment to help you in case of an emergency.
We recently approved the purchase of 20 new SUV’s for our police department. Our officers have to get to the scene quickly, patrol our streets continuously, and be ready to help you when you need them. This is the largest purchase of patrol units in the department’s history.
We also just signed a new contract with the Edinburg Police Union and our Edinburg police officers. The contract gives officers – with 10 years of service – an additional $5,000 as of the date of the contract. We doubled the clothing allowance for our patrol division, too. And, we now offer education pay for our officers from $900 – $1,500 a year. Now, our senior officers can earn almost $80,000 a year if they hold a degree, are assigned to a different division, or if they decide to be training officers.
We just approved the purchase of three new fire trucks for our fire department. These are tools for emergency responses – not just for fires, but for medical help and hazardous materials, too. Never before, has the city invested in our fire department on a scale like this.
Edinburg Is Investing In Better City Services
We are investing in you. We’re investing in our city. We’re investing in our future. We’re not going to allow any more of the wasteful spending we’ve seen in the past. We’re not going to allow deals to be made so a select few can profit anymore. Those days are over.
Our focus is what’s best for you. That means providing you with the basic city services you deserve as a taxpayer. It means continued garbage pick-up, clean neighborhoods, keeping our streets and sidewalks repaired, and making sure we have parks, fields and recreation facilities that all of our children can enjoy. It also means making sure our local businesses are thriving – as we work to bring new business to our area, so we can continue to grow and prosper.
So, let’s take a look at what we’re doing: We heard your concerns about our roadways. Repairs must be made, and we’ve already started making those improvements with paving projects at Memorial Park, W. Davis Road, Freddy Gonzalez Drive, Jasmin Road, Rogers Road, Fay Street, and Doolittle Road.
We’ve cleaned up 20 miles of ditches and cleaned an additional 35 miles of storm drains. That’s one way to help alleviate the flooding problems we see. But we have several drainage improvement projects happening very soon. We’ll tell you where those improvements are being made in just a few minutes.
Edinburg City Cleanup – a Huge Success
Our neighborhood cleanup projects have been a huge success. The most recent one happening in the Lull Subdivision, also known as La Hielera. Solid waste collected more than 92 tons of trash and debris in just one day in that neighborhood. And we’re happy to say that all 250 homes in the neighborhood participated;92 tons of trash in one day!
So where does all that trash go? We have a landfill that not only is our place to dispose of trash, but it’s also a big money maker for our city. You may not know this, but Edinburg has contracts with the cities of Harlingen, San Juan, McAllen, Alton, and Hidalgo County. They bring their trash to our landfill. We properly dispose of it. That waste decomposes naturally, and it turns into methane. We then capture that methane. We clean it up so it’s safe and then, we sell it.
Edinburg makes about $1.2 million dollars in royalties every year doing this. It gives a whole new meaning to the saying; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Edinburg is Attracting New Jobs
We wanted our neighborhood parks to be places that benefit everyone in this community. That’s why we’re working to improve the parks we have and add special needs equipment at every park in our city, so that all children are included, and all families have a safe place to enjoy the outdoors.
Just as we want our children to have a safe place to be active, we want the very same for our senior citizens. I’m honored to be on the Amigos del Valle board because I believe in the work they do there. Amigos del Valle is now based in Edinburg, bringing 143 new jobs to our area.
People who are 60 or older can enjoy all kinds of activities there. And the volunteers serve about 150 meals, every day, to residents right here in Edinburg. That’s 150 meals just in this city. Amigos del Valle serves *thousands of meals all across the Valley, day after day.
Let’s face it, we all love a good meal. Don’t we? When you drive around town now, you have every option you can imagine. We have the fantastic Bob’s Steak and Chop House for fine dining, and now open areGolden Chick, Jason’s Deli, Raising Cane’s, Gamba’s Seafood, Slim Chickens, Kurai Chinese Buffet, The Venue House, Villa Del Mar, and Shipley’s Donuts. Those are just a few of the new restaurants that call Edinburg home.
Let me tell you, with all of those food options, thank goodness, gold’s gym just opened its newest state-of-the-art facility right here on McColl. Also, open, is TDB K.O. Fitness Club on business 281. This gym is locally owned and run by a 2-time heavyweight world title challenger. I’ve been there myself – at 5 a.m. – and I can tell you, boxing is a great work out.
So, yes, we want you to enjoy all the good food here. But we also want you to exercise and be healthy and we’re so glad to see more fitness centers opening their doors in Edinburg.
Businesses like TDB K.O. Fitness, Gold’s Gym, the brand new “Five Below” store at The Shoppes At Rio Grande Valley on Trenton, and the Affordable Attic Storage Facility on south McColl means that you have more options than ever before.
That also means we have more new jobs here. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the entire Valley. Edinburg is tied with our sister city of McAllen, for having the most number of employed residents. There are jobs in our city. People are working.
We are at a 4.9 % unemployment rate. And as we work to bring in more businesses, we want to see that unemployment rate drop even more. But what about our local, small businesses that have been here for years, providing the jobs we need. We want to thank you for choosing Edinburg and we want to help you continue to be successful here.
Our EDC recently approved the small business improvement grant. That grant is going to give our small businesses the extra push they need. We’ll tell you more about this grant, in just a few minutes.
Edinburg Becoming Well Known for Health Centers
We’re proud to say that our community is also becoming very well known for our health centers.
We are home to Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, a world-class health system serving this community with excellence. DHR is Edinburg’slargest employer, with over 4,700 hundred employees.
DHR has also committed to starting a satellite program for the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. It is the first program of its kind in the entire nation.
So, as you can see, the opportunities for our community are multiplying. And now, South Texas Health Systems has increased its presence in Edinburg.
A brand new, free-standing emergency department is now open serving residents in north Edinburg. It’s located on Monte Cristo and 281. It’s fully staffed with nurses and doctors, 24 hours a day. And, a second emergency department, is under construction right now on McColl and that location should be open by July.
Car dealerships like Hacienda Ford and the Bert Ogden Auto Group, also continue investing in our community. You don’t have to go to other Valley cities or even San Antonio to buy a car anymore. You have countless choices, right here at home.
And speaking of home, construction permits in Edinburg are at an all-time high. We finished off 2017 with $271 million dollars in construction activity; 900 new apartments have been constructed; 469 new single-family homes have been built, and more people are remodeling and making improvements to their homes.
On the commercial side, we also saw an increase in several multimillion-dollar projects that include banks, law offices, medical buildings, and vehicle service centers, just to name a few.
Edinburg – the Best Place to Live, Work, & Learn
Here’s the bottom line. More people are moving to Edinburg. They know what you and I have known all along; this is the best place to live, work, and learn.
We expect the population to continue to grow because of everything this city has to offer. Family life doesn’t get any better than Edinburg. Just take a look at our Boys and Girls Clubs and its incredible programs. An average of 850 children attend our Boys and Girls Clubs every day during the school year.
Our Parks and Recreation Department is always busy with great events. And every day, we have about 60 children that take part in after-school activities like dance, basketball, volleyball, and many others.
Our library is second to none. The shelves are filled with books waiting to take you on your next adventure. Our staff is always working to bring us events that will keep our community engaged and involved.
We just hosted one of those incredible events last weekend. The world-famous UFO Conference. We had a fantastic turnout, as we always do. And we’re already looking forward to what our library staff has planned next.
Now, if you are a sports fan like I am, you should be in heaven living in Edinburg. You don’t have to travel out of town anymore to enjoy college-level athletics. The UTRGV Athletics Department brings competitive college basketball, volleyball, soccer, and baseball to our city.
When is the last time you’ve taken your family to watch the Vaqueros play? Let’s support our hometown teams.
And have you seen our soccer stadium? The Rio Grande Valley Toros bring us world-class soccer. People from across the Valley are traveling here to watch those games.
With so much happening across the city, we had to make sure you’re able to get to those places. That’s why the Edinburg Transit Terminal, is being built right now. The 15,000 square foot facility will serve as the home to Valley Metro, our public transit provider. But it will also provide office and retail spaces. We need to start thinking like the progressive city we are and cater to the needs of our community now, and for generations to come.
That brings me to the other, very important part of my job as your mayor. Planning for the future. Our population is now over 87,000 people. Edinburg is the 35thlargest city in Texas out of 961 cities.
Our city council is encouraging growth by streamlining the process for anyone interested in building or developing here. We’ve even moved our Economic Development Corporation into city hall, so you’ll be able to go to one place- to do all your business.
And we have plenty of room for that growth. We are not landlocked. The possibilities for Edinburg, are endless.
Take a look at some of the projects you’ll see, in the very near future.
(A video of future projects was presented and then the Mayor continued.)
So, what do you think? Our future definitely looks bright in Edinburg. This is our city’s time to shine. We have a strong city council that represents the very best of what we can accomplish when we work together.
As we look to the future, we thought this would be the perfect time to share something brand new with you. I want to invite our council members on stage right now. And our UTRGV Cheerleaders and Dance Team Members to help me with this. (The Council Members joined the Mayor on the stage).
Tonight, we are excited to unveil our new, city logo. It’s bold. It’s clear. It’s a fresh take on our All America City.
Are you ready to see it? You are the very first people to see our logo and because we think you’re pretty special, we want for you to take home a few things showing off that logo.
Thank you, everyone, for being part of our State of the City Address tonight. This is your city!
Edinburg is Your City!