Ensuring "strong financial oversight" for taxpayers, Hidalgo County Pct. 4 Commissioner Oscar Garza has announced his intention to seek a fourth term in 2010.

Garza will hold his official campaign kick-off at The Echo Hotel on Thursday, Dec. 10. The event is open to the public. Garza said he is looking forward to a spirited campaign and the opportunity to debate the importance of management experience and accountability to Hidalgo County taxpayers. Pct. 4 includes Edinburg and the Delta areas of the County.

“In today’s economy, being vigilant in the management of taxpayer dollars is more important than ever,” Garza said".  Unlike communities across the country that are facing deficits, Hidalgo County stands apart with millions of dollars in cash reserves and the highest bond rating in its history."

Garza, who has a long record of public service and private sector business experience, credits the County’s strong financial position to a commitment to planning and conservative fiscal policies.  “We’ve steered the county to a point where we are now self-funded in health care and worker’s compensation insurance,” he noted.  “By cutting out the middle men, we’ve saved taxpayers $18 million in fees and insurance premiums.”

At the same time the County is reining in spending, Garza is ensuring it’s also responsibly planning for the future.  The Precinct 4 Office is completing a $44 million drainage project in-house, at a cost to taxpayers of only $24 million.  “This is an insurance policy against future hurricanes and flooding — saving not only homes and businesses, but lives and $20 million in taxpayer dollars,” Garza explained.

 “To establish this kind of financial strength, you have to be hands-on,” he said. “If you look the other way, or claim that it’s not your job, money is misspent and walks out the door. You have to have the courage to be held accountable.”

Joseph Palacios, former chief of staff for Commissioner Sylvia Handy, confirmed in the Rio Grande Guardian that he will run against Garza for Pct. 1.