McALLEN, RGV – In one of his final interviews with the Rio Grande Guardian before Election Day, Mayor Darling said he was proud to run on his record.
“My agenda is moving McAllen forward. People run on their record, and my record is pretty good,” Darling said.
Asked to explain some of the things he wants to do in a second term, Darling said: “One of the things is the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) merger, I want to make sure of that. Another is developing the Wi-Fi plan for the city. We need develop revenue streams besides sales tax, such as ecotourism. We have a new arsenal at our disposal and that’s entertainment tourism. Hopefully, we will do that, and of course there’s sports tourism, and I think we are developing that.”
Darling, an attorney by profession, said he agreed with those who said some city expenditures could be cut to save taxpayer dollars. “However, you can’t run it by simply cutting expenses because ultimately there’s no expenses to cut. Being smarter with our health care plans will properly save us about a million dollars this year.”
Darling said these are “low hanging fruit” proposals that will help the City save money. But, he said, the City will have to “build on what we have on the income side.” He said putting new assets on the tax roll will help.
“We have to make sure we fight for our sales tax revenues,” Darling said, referencing the importance of Mexican shoppers. “We cannot give up on that. We have to do everything we can protect that.”
Darling said some of the things he is asked to help with are out of the City of McAllen’s control.
“Somebody asked me about Internet sales, and I can’t do anything about that. I can’t do anything about the Peso devaluation. But, I can do things by making Mexican shoppers feel good, by attracting people to our area, invite them to come to McAllen because of our restaurants, the quality of life to make sure they spend their money here. Let’s concentrate in the things we can do and keep an eye on the things that we can’t.”
Asked for some wrap-up remarks, Darling said:
“I think I have done a pretty good job. I am a team builder. I understand McAllen, I understand its needs. I am a hard worker and I love the city, and I have enough energy for four more good years, and I will do everything I can to make McAllen better. I understand what the residents need.”
And when the election is over? Darling said he hopes everyone rallies around the winner.
“I don’t think it is wrong if people support one candidate or the other. But, at the end of the election you still have to be for McAllen.”