EDINBURG – Grand entrances always seem to be anticipated from mayors at a state of the city address.
As was the case with first-term mayor Richard Molina. Boasting his 4-0 record as a politician, Team Molina made their way down the center aisle of the Edinburg Auditorium Thursday evening with a security detail in tow. The mock boxer entrance was accented by one of the city's champions Eric Molina, a small business owner.
Recently the city purchased 20 sport utility vehicles for the police department and three new fire engines for the fire department. Also tooted was the pay raises the police union and the city agreed to in the recent months.
“Some of the things I am most proud of is really going into public safety right off the bat,” Molina said. “That was one of the things I prioritized.”
The boost in public safety vehicles has never been done before in the history of the city. Police officers with 10 years of service or more received a $5,000 pay raise. The city can also now recruit officers with degrees which will give them an extra $1,000 upon being hired.
Also being highlighted was the neighborhood clean ups taken place. The first happened in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods La Hielera where 91 tons of garbage was collected. The mayor wanted to get away from the annual photo opportunity and actually clean 10 neighborhoods.
“We were taking out old pieces of wood, old shed that had been there for years that nobody was using anymore,” he said. “It was just visual things that we're doing to make the city look better.”
Molina also said seven parks will be upgraded for special needs children along with a brand new six-acre park. The money has been ear marked for the equipment.
At the end of the day the vision for the mayor is to get back to basics. Molina said concerns while campaigning were evident.
“A lot of the people wanted to see paved roads, drainage issues tackled, lighting issues and that is how we're keeping the upkeep simple,” he said.
The evening concluded with a dinner in the city hall courtyard along with the unveiling of a new city logo.