The Texas City Management Association recognized the McAllen City Commission for its work over the past year. The TCMA named the commission the 2021 Council of the year. The group said the commission kept its focus on completing projects that benefited the community even while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, being hit by a hurricane and dealing with the death of two police officers who were killed while doing their jobs.
In coordination with the Census, the City of McAllen promoted the importance of participating in the Census and the impact it has on the region. The goal of the 2020 Census was to ensure that every resident in the United States was counted. The City of McAllen coordinated events with Commissioners and Mayor Jim Darling to conduct outreaches regarding the census. The Census relocated in McAllen to further their goal to have everyone be counted. The City of McAllen had several public service announcement for residents to complete the Census via telethon for their community. City Leaders, front line workers, and volunteers assisted with the telethon to complete the census.
The City of McAllen unveiled REFRESH 50/50 grant program to revitalize designated business corridors. REFRESH 50/50 aimed to stimulate and improve the physical, economical, and cultural vitality of businesses in McAllen. Small business are the heartbeat of McAllen and thought this grant, businesses applied up to 15K through the McAllen Retail & Business Development Department.
“We recognize that the entire community is in mourning for our fallen McAllen police officers…” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. In the midst of an already difficult year, the strength and resolve of the McAllen Police Department was tested when the lives of two police officers were abruptly taken. To honor Officers Ismael Z. Chavez and Edelmiro Garza Jr, the City of McAllen held in-person and virtual viewing services. We are beholden to those who grieved alongside the McAllen community. Their dedication to public service will never be forgotten. Click Here to view the service.
Tunnel2Tower announced a mortage payoff for McAllen Police Officer Edelmiro Garza Jr.’s family. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure stability & security to families facing sudden, tragic loss. Officer Garza was killed in the line of duty in 2020.
McAllen International Airport (MFE) in partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in McAllen, collaborated to present the photography exhibit “Somos” by Mexican artist Mauricio Silerio. “Somos” is a collection of 18 photographs that depict places, traditions, people, historic landmarks, and Mexico's rich culture. Additionally, the Día de Muertos Altar exhibit, is a featured installation from the Mexican Consulate honoring passed loved ones.
Traveling to Monterrey just got faster with a new nonstop flight the McAllen International Airport unveiled Thursday. Officials from Aeromar, a Mexican airline, joined officials from the city and the airport to announce the new route to Monterrey, which will begin in April. "This is an amazing day," City Manager Roel "Roy" Rodriguez said. "I've been with the city of McAllen for 17 years and I can't remember the first time that I heard 'We need a route to Monterrey from McAllen' and so this is literally something that we had been working on with several airlines for that long." Rodriguez stressed that direct flights from Monterrey were a great opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley because of the fact that the region depends on Mexican nationals to come and shop here.
Every October sees the McAllen Fire Department visiting local elementary schools during National Fire Safety Week, teaching fire safety and other helpful hints, with Sparky and other fire suppression tools and vehicles. However, because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the usual visits did not take place. To revamp, the McAllen Fire Department created a video that would help teach fire safety. Thanks to Sparky and Fire Lt. Garcia, McAllen Mayor Darling, in a tongue-in-cheek role, learned an important lesson on kitchen fire safety. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling stopped by the McAllen Fire Station #3 to visit some firefighters and had breakfast. Left to his own devices, he cooked up bacon and possibly trouble in the kitchen. Fortunately, Sparky and McAllen Fire Lt. Lucas Garcia are on hand to teach Mayor Darling all about kitchen fire safety. Click Here to view the video.
In a true display of teamwork several fire dept’s including McAllen Firefighters responded to near Garceño in Starr County to help rescue a 4 year old boy who had fallen down a well. Crews worked for almost six hours lodged several feet below the ground in the shaft of a rural Starr County well. The boy was met by applause and cheering as first responders finally carried him to the surface. Crews in hard hats and dusty vests and harnesses carefully passed the boy off to one another, up the edge of the well that they'd spent hours widening and tapering off.
Suarez Park continues to offer multiple recreation opportunities. In order to improve the site, both the West and East playgrounds received playground part improvements. The East playground provides a ramp system for deck access. The existing restrooms received a remodel to mirror the developments at Airport, Cascade and La Vista. The concession stand was converted into a Family Restroom. These improvements were funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
Through CDBG funds, the City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department will complete the Uvalde Soccer Field Project. A former landfill site, and repurposed to provide green space for the community, the Uvalde Soccer Field will offer lighted fields for a longer playing time.
The Parks and Recreation Department has upgraded restroom facilities at Airport Park, Cascade Park, and La Vista Park. All three parks had existing infrastructure with restrooms. The new builds were coordinated by the building maintenance division with multiple layers of work being completed in-house by city trades helpers and electricians. Park improvements continued with additional picnic tables, sidewalk and trail connections, and playground improvements all coordinated by Parks Maintenance. Pavilion Renovations also include La Vista Rental Pavilion, which received several improvements such as fencing, pavilion painting, and a completely renovated kitchenette. The playground is scheduled for part replacements starting June 1, 2021.
On October 2020, McAllen held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Phase 1 of the Morris Park Trail. Mayor Jim Darling, City Commissioner Javier Villalobos, City Commissioner Veronica Whitacre and McAllen school board Trustee Debbie Crane Aliseda, among others, participated in the ceremony Friday morning. The trail, which cost nearly $164,000, links Dr. Pablo Perez Elementary School and Homer J. Morris Middle School. It's part of Morris Park, a 24.2-acre park in northeast McAllen that doubles as a regional detention facility for rainwater.
“The quality of water from McAllen Public Utility remains superior,” said Mark Vega, General Manager for MPU. “Our system has remained online and functioning without a dip in any of the monitoring, chemicals or processes required to make the water clean and safe for drinking. Residents can rest comfortably knowing that their water is clean and safe to drink and to use for cooking, cleaning and other uses.”
McAllen Public Utility Department and Trustees donate Vacuum Truck to Sister City of Reynosa, rather than sending to auction. Truck cleans up wastewater, debris, unplugs sewer lines and can vacuum approximately 2k gallons of water.
25 of McAllen’s environmental health specialists (food inspectors), state-licensed sanitarian and code enforcement officers took the official oath for their Badge. These committed individuals help keep our community safe and healthy on a daily basis. The City of McAllen Environmental Health & Code Enforcement Department has conducted over 26,900+ inspections in Fiscal Year 2019-2020. These are a combination of COVID-19 compliance cases, Food Inspections, Weedy Lots, Illegal Dumping complaints, and Mosquito Control Cases to name a few. “The ceremony and the sworn oath brings professionalism and respect to their positions and is another step in modernizing the McAllen Environmental Health & Code Enforcement Department,” said Steven Kotsatos, R.S. director of the department.
ILLUMINA Fest 2020 was an outdoor exhibit that celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Chinese New Year. It also featured a Native American tipi village, the Wild West, nature’s natural sculptures, winter solstice, and wildlife. Along with holiday music and entertainment, this 45-minute walk experience through the woods was lined with thousands of candle luminaries to celebrate the winter holidays around the world!
McAllen’s own Quinta Mazatlan added a Halloween themed trail. The Sticks & Bones Trail was an educational trail created to teach children about their own bones. The trail opened to the public in November and featured socially distant activities.
The City is pleased to report that the year ended with the General Fund exceeding budgetary expectations by $18.5 million. Sales tax revenue exceeded the adjusted budget by $3.4m; while property tax revenue exceeded budget by $175K. The City received Cares Act Funding to reimburse the cost of public safety expenditures in the amount of $18.9m. The City achieved expenditure savings in compensation and benefits of $2.3m by implementing a hiring freeze.
The General Fund accounts for most of the City’s activity and finances operations from taxes; the unrestricted fund balance at the fiscal year-end of 2020 was $75.2 million. This figure represents 212 days of operations or 72 days in excess of the City’s minimum 140 days policy for FY 2021.
This past year, $3.3 million was expended on the City’s annual maintenance repaving program to keep City streets in tiptop shape. In addition, construction valuations totaled $207 Million in 2020. New construction projects included residential homes, multifamily buildings, and commercial buildings.
As a result of this year’s operations, the City’s is prepared to successfully meet financial challenges facing most cities. As a whole and individually, current year revenue line items demonstrate McAllen’s strong fiscal position. Lastly, it must be noted that the City affirmed its AA+ issuer credit rating from Standard & Poors, as well as Fitch Ratings.