EDINBURG, RGV – Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina has released a statement regarding the recent changes made to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board.
Molina said he felt it was important to “clear up misinformation being spread” about changes made this week at the EDC. The statement was posted on the city’s website and via a video message on its Facebook page.
At an Edinburg City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, the EDC board was dissolved. Three members of the board – Isael Posadas, Julio Carranza, and Dr. Noe Sauceda – were replaced by Mayor Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, and City Councilmember Jorge Salinas. Councilmember Gilbert Enriquez, stays on the EDC as president. Edinburg CISD board member Miguel ‘Mike’ Farias also stays on the EDC board.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Fern McClaugherty, a leader of the OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System) voiced concerns about changes at the EDC.
In his statement, Molina said the previous mayor left the EDC in “bad shape financially.” Here is his statement:
Ladies and Gentlemen of Edinburg, I feel it is important to clear up misinformation being spread about a recent change at the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.
At our city council meeting Tuesday night, the EDC board was dissolved. Three members who were added to the board back in November, no longer serve on the board. This action took place publicly so that you are aware of what is happening in your city government.
The mayor and City Council are the people you elected to represent you. That’s why we replaced the former EDC board members. We feel this is the best way to keep the interest of the city at the forefront and be held accountable as your representatives.
Now, let me explain why this had to be done.
The EDC is the jobs-creation arm of our City Council. The EDC leads efforts to bring new investments and new companies to Edinburg. We market the region to highlight the incredible talent here, and the quality of life that keeps those people here.
Unfortunately, the board under the previous mayor left the EDC in bad shape financially. On March 10th, the City Council and the EDC had an eight hour long joint meeting to review the EDC’s financial situation. The findings were discouraging.
Before the EDC board can invest any money, we have to make sure we pay what’s owed on the following projects:
- The Ebony Hills Golf Course Project: $246,286
- The Parks and Recreation Building Project: $485,844
- The Santana Manufacturing Project: $381,896.75 (The EDC is not the first lien holder. That means if the project goes under, the EDC still has to cover the payments. The EDC’s reserve funds are being spent on this project.)
- Two separate payments to LGFC Entertainment Center for the Bert Ogden Arena: $190,826.88 and $145,333.22.
All of that adds up to $1,450,186.85 worth of payments per year. We have to make those payments before the EDC can spend money on anything else.
At the next EDC board meeting, we will have a better idea of how we can move forward. This will take time and patience, but it will happen. Our new Executive Director will get us back on track as the EDC goes through this reorganization.
I do thank the previous board members for the work and time they put in over the last few months. We know time away from your businesses and families is a sacrifice. After the March 10th meeting, the previous EDC board members began to express concerns about the time commitment to serving on the board. Many of the board members felt they simply could not fulfill their commitment to the EDC under these conditions. That is why we had to dissolve the board.
During my campaign for Mayor, I told you the Mayor should not also serve as President of the EDC. I gave you my word, I never hold that seat. Councilmember Gilbert Enriquez remains the EDC President.
Our number one concern is that your tax dollars are being used honestly and legitimately for this city.
The EDC will continue to run with the utmost integrity and transparency.
The Rio Grande Guardian recently interviewed Mayor Molina at a McAllen City Commission meeting. Asked what he learned at the marathon joint meeting of Edinburg city and EDC leaders – held at the city’s solid waste facility on March 10 – Molina said:
“The city is in a pretty good spot, in terms of its bonding capacity. the problem is the EDC. There are some previous commitments that do hold the EDC back somewhat. I am impressed by the financial capacity of the city. I wish I could say the same for the EDC. There are previous commitments, you saw them on the board.”
Editor’s Note: Click here to watch the video version of this statement.
Editor’s Note: The photos shown in the slideshow accompanying this story were taken at a March 10, 2018, meeting held jointly by Edinburg City Council and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The meeting was held at the City of Edinburg’s Solid Waste facility.