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Forecast:
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County requests RFQ for architects for new courthouse

Hidalgo-County-SealThe Hidalgo County Commissioners Court authorized administrators to advertise for architects with extensive experience in the design, construction, and related services of judicial and courthouse facilities.

There was no discussion on the proposed new courthouse, only an approval of the request for qualifications.

Alex Palacios, of Prodigy Engineering, told the court the construction manager for the new Hidalgo County Administration Building is asking for two additional weeks to complete the project. Palacios did not give a date for final completion.

 

In other action, the recommended tax rate for Hidalgo County for the 2015 budget was set at $0.5900, the same rate that was adopted for 2014. However, because of the increased appraised value of the dounty, that amount will provide an additional $2,045,846 in revenues. The total levy will be $166,046,423.

The effective tax rate or amount needed to raise the amount of revenue received this year ($164,000,597) was figured at $0.5822. The rate will be officially adopted on September 30.

Also Monday, the court heard a presentation on delinquent tax collections by Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott, LLP on 2014 delinquent tax collections. About 31 percent of delinquent taxes were collected resulting in over $14 million in revenue. Approximately 2,700 cases were taken to litigation, resulting in $11 million. Nearly 500 foreclosed properties were resold, adding to tax revenue in the amount of $196,000.

Hidalgo County Auditor Ray Eufracio told the court an additional $10 million in revenues over projections in the 2014 budget had been received during the year. The money came from fines, fees and grants and added to the budget. The estimated fund balance for 2014 at the end of the fiscal year is $34,684,010.

Eddie Olivarez, chief administrator for Hidalgo County Health and Human Resources told the court the recent Operation Lonestar was the largest operation of its kind in the United States. Two Valley high schools were used for training for military for emergency situations.

At Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, 3,649 people received 9,185 services while 4,196 people received 11,330 services at Palmview High School. Nearly 800 people received 1,200 dental services free of charge while 492 people received new glasses at no cost. In all, more than half a million dollars worth of services were provided to Hidalgo County residents at no cost. Olivarez said the program was “a tremendous success.”

Olivarez said he was honored to be one of two nominees statewide to serve on the U.S.-Mexican Border Health Board, which serves four United States and six Mexican border-states on common health concerns. Gov. Rick Perry makes the decision on the board that advises President Obama.

Olivarez requested permission to have the county health clinics inspected pursuant to the Texas Architectural Barriers Act, a state requirement.

A memorandum of understanding between the Department of State Health Services, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, and Mission Regional Medical Center was approved for the protecting of the public health of citizens of Texas.

In other action Urban County requested approval of a contract between South Texas Infrastructure for street improvements for the city of Peñitas.

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