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Precinct No. 4 gets new constable

20140411 Commisisoners-CourtAtanacio “J.R.” Gaitan was named the new constable for Hidalgo Country Precinct No. 4 during the April 8 meeting of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.

Gaitan replaces Eddie Guerra, who was named interim sheriff in the previous meeting. After being selected Gaitan, posted the required $1,500 bond and returned at the end of the meeting with Judge Rudy Delgado, who officially swore him in as Constable of Precinct No. 4.

Meanwhile, in order to save money, the court agreed to refinance bonds as presented by Cris Vela, financial advisor with First Southwest. Bonds refinanced were Limited Tax Refunding Bonds Series 2014A and Limited Tax Refunding Bonds, Taxable Series 2014B.

The total amount of both bonds is $35,365,000, and the gross savings to the county is $1,874,027.

Also Wednesday, the court heard a report from Alex Palacios of Prodigy Construction on the ongoing remodeling of the administration building. He told the court work is 36 percent complete. Much of the electrical wiring is in place and interior wall frames are going up. Cleaning of all sewer trenches is ongoing and an odor problem has been tracked to a cracked sewer pipe on the second floor, which was replaced.

Palacios said there is some confusion because some people don’t know the difference between a change order and a chance directive. A change order either reduces or increases the cost of the project with whatever changes are made. A change directive does not change the cost since there is already a budget for whatever project is being done. It is simply a change in what was to be done.

Three change directives have been approved. They will be funded from money already allotted for the project. A change order with an increase of $124,541 for repairs and renovations to the second floor has also been approved.

Additionally, a request for payment of $491,913.80 was approved to D. Wilson Construction for work on the project.

A work order for construction materials testing at an estimated cost of $2,838.93 by L&G Engineering Laboratory also was approved.

Under Head Start, Director Teresa Flores told the court 5 percent of funding lost during the sequester was being restored to the program. One staff member will be added but the rest of the money will be used to give a 3.5 percent cost of living adjustment to employees. Flores said that salaries for Head Start workers are not comparable to those of regular employees and the 3.5 percent increase would help bring the salaries closer to those of regular county employees.

Flores brought a group of 4- and 5-year-olds from Weslaco Head Start to the meeting. One child led the pledge of allegiance and the others sang a song about the color of their flag.

Under Urban County items, a sole bid item for the City of Palmview submitted by Texas Cordia Construction for Palmview for street improvements to the Abram Road Bridge was rejected.

Under elections administration, approval of contracts for elections for the City of Elsa, the Donna Independent School District, the City of Mercedes and the Donna Irrigation district for elections to be held May 10 were approved.

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