In response to his recent op-ed attacking Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3, sadly, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa continues to prove that he is well past the prime of his public service and has outgrown his purpose as such.  

To the detriment of the voters of the City of McAllen, Sen. Hinojosa once again tried, and failed, to pass legislation for the purpose of stealing water for the city that the municipality has rightfully had to pay for since the inception of the city.  

The senator was able to get a much different version of his bill passed that, thankfully, does not disturb the excellent work and reliable service that Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3 (HCWID No.3) provides for its 18-plus farmers, hundreds of civilian irrigation users, as well as for the McAllen Public Utility.

The senator decries the rate increases required to cover the cost of compliance with the provisions of the enacted bill that the senator authored. The real, yet rhetorical, question is: how much would the city have reduced the rate for water if he had succeeded in passing the original bill he wrote? The city sells its water to the voting citizens of McAllen at a significant gross profit of more than $62-million dollars a year!

By contrast, all of the water districts of the Rio Grande Valley (25) routinely set their rates for delivery of raw river water so that the districts would break even – no profit, and no loss. 

All of this changed when one senator decided to start (and fail at) writing legislation to steal, or take over by legislative fiat, a water district that the City of McAllen thought it could get for free and then not pass the incredible savings on to the citizens of McAllen because the city government always knows how to spend your money better than you do, obviously.  

The rise in the cost of reliable water delivery must always be passed on for continued reliable delivery without a loss. It should also be noted that the rates charged by District 3 is with no loss charges added. By contrast, some other water districts add a “loss rate” charge on top of their regular water and delivery charges. When these charges are taken into consideration, the rates charged by District 3 are very competitive or even lower than the others.

The senator makes baseless and false charges against the District 3 President profiting as part of his service. In fact, the President of District 3 has not taken any salary for 16 years while serving as President and General Manager, thereby saving the city of McAllen and its citizens more than $1.4 million dollars. All this, while taking good, positive and proactive steps to improve the infrastructure of the water district. 

Did you lose water during any flooding storm or hurricane? Did you lose water during the cold freeze last February? Not if you live in the city of McAllen. That’s because the water district raised their pump station to a height above the levy wall, thereby making their pumps resistant to any flooding. The water district then added natural gas backup engine generators so that they could continue reliably delivering water even in power outages like we had during the cold freeze.

The layer of government that is profiting off of the citizens here is the City of McAllen. Every one of the cities’ managers not only takes a salary, theirs is six-figures-plus, and they sell their water at a rate high enough to profit from its citizens by millions of dollars a year. Maybe the senator and the city should rethink this and reduce their rates to no profit?

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by political activist and Edinburg resident Eddie Zamora. The author, a former congressional candidate for the 15th congressional district of Texas, describes himself as a “concerned citizen and observer of political and governmental affairs.” Zamora, pictured above, has been an employee of Othal Brand, Jr., for a number of years. Brand is president of HCWID No. 3. Zamora can be reached by email via [email protected]

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