In tough economic times, Richard Garcia’s new administration looks like it is up to the challenge of maintaining Edinburg’s success and profitability, according to city councilmembers.
Valley leaders including visiting mayors from McAllen and Mission, county officials, and city officials packed the boardroom at Edinburg City Hall to commemorate Garcia’s mayoral victory. Along with newly elected mayor Garcia, councilmembers Gus Garcia and Noe Garza kept their positions on the Council.
The three officials cruised to victory after councilmembers voted to nix city elections in April. Richard Garcia, Gus Garcia and Noe Garza failed to draw opponents in the election.
During his speech to a crowd of more than 600, Garcia echoed that which he told the Edinburg Review a week before. The city needs to reestablish regional cooperation between the metroplex cities of McAllen, Pharr and Mission, which Garcia offered as one of the key aspects of his mayoral agenda.
“I would like to say that McAllen already had a good relationship with Mayor (Joe) Ochoa. I was always willing to work with Mayor Ochoa and his council for anything we could do together,” said McAllen mayor Richard Cortez, who was among those present at the swearing-in. “My relationship with new mayor (Richard) Garcia is a good one and I look forward to working with him and the City Council to improve both of our communities.”
Hidalgo County Judge JD Salinas, who was also present at the event, commended the new mayor’s efforts to bring a regional discussion among the cities of Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, Pharr and Reynosa.
Salinas also lauded Garcia’s adherence to the same plan that he has had as chairman of Edinburg economic development.
“There is no doubt that when you go in like that and you set the tone about working as a region, it makes things easier not only for commissioners but it makes the Valley stronger,” Salinas said. “We have been preaching it for awhile. Unity means a lot of power, and a lot more can get done so I’m really pleased.”
City Council members say they look forward to working within Garcia’s administration.Garcia’s goal remains to continue economic development in town. He reemphasized his goal to link UTPA to City Hall via a proposed student corridor, add more green space to the city, and continue airport development possibly using stimulus funding.
“This Board doesn’t always agree, but we can agree to disagree. We are looking forward to working for the best interests of Edinburg,” said council member Alma Garza. “I give credit where credit is due and the last few years we have been working on Richard’s dream getting a new mall, a new City Hall, a library…a lot of those were his dreams. You are going to see a Council that can communicate a little, no actually a lot easier.”
Former mayor Joe Ochoa’s impact in the Council the past three years made a “tremendous” difference in tough economic times, according to councilmember Gus Garcia. Riding on key decisions that defined his administration from 2006 to 2009, Ochoa saw the construction of a new City Hall, police department, library, and water plant in his final stint as mayor.
Ochoa’s experience played a crucial role in making sure the city maintained its profitability from a governmental county standpoint, Garcia said.
“He (Ochoa) was an aggressive and hard working mayor and he is going to be missed, but of course the city will continue,”Garcia. “We have the new mayor (Garcia) coming in and we intent to work with the mayor. He brings with him his experience as well.
“We are going to miss him (Ochoa) and we will probably suffer a little bit but I think the new administration is up to the challenge, and we have a new mayor who is very qualified and very experienced and is very well respected also,” Garcia said. “I think he is going to bring an element that we are all going to learn from as well.”