Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 32, No. 30, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 16, 1974

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Vol. XXXII
No. 30
Thursday, May 16, 1974
Rio Grande City, Texas
Auditor Gonzalez rejects lease-purchase grader deal...
Ramirez-Court hold heated session
i
by RAUL TRFJ0
Herald Managing Editor
Starr County Judge Mario E.
Ramirez, Commissioners
Amando Pena, Hector I>ozano
and Raynaldo (Moren) Alaniz
got into a heated discussion
over county finances, hospital
construction a road grader and
over representation in the South
Texas Council of Governments.
The court heard reports from
the County Road Superin-
tendent and the County
Assistant Auditor who reported
that the county was in a sad
financial condition. He reported
that as of April 30 the county
had a total amount of
$374,330.12. Some of the money
included in this figure is money
that cannot be spent for
anything except its ear-marked
budget, plus the revenue
sharing money.
The court then heard a letter
read to them by Judge Ramirez
on the RoT;a International
Bridge. The letter from S.B.
Schuster, P.E. of S.B. Schuster
Constructors-Engineers was
critical of the slow process in
repairing the international
bridge in Roma. The letter
reads:
Dear Dr. Ramirez:
I received a call today from the
office of Mr. Harry Williams,
Senior Trust Officer of The
American Bank in Austin, The
bank examiners had just
concluded a visit and there
seemed to be considerable
concern, both from the
examiners and American Bank,
that there has not been folluw
up correspondence indicating a
completion of repairs.
As it happens, Mr. Barbour
from my office passed through
Roma several weeks ago and
took the occasion to look at the
bridge. His report was that
there had been nothing of
substance accomplished since
our last visit. If this is indeed
the case, I urge that you see if
you can prevail upon the
commissioners' court to
proceed with this work as
quickly as possible. It can only
accrue to the best interests of
the court to have this work
completed. Additionally, it will
not be too long until you must
arrange for another annual
inspection. Apart and aside
from the diminution of any
Judge speaks out
on county problems
EDITOR'S NOTE - In order
that we can bring to the readers
of the Rio Grande Herald a
more in-depth look into the
problems facing the county
commissioners and the county
judge we asked County Judge
Mario E. Ramirez for such an
interview. We feel that a simple
format of placing a question
and presenting his entire an-
swer word-for-word will give
our readers a clearer picture
than someone's speculation as
to what was said or a writers
opinion as to what was meant
by this or that. We believe that
the interview although length
has been the "meat" that our
readers want from the
problems facing our county. We
appreciate Dr. Ramirez's time
in granting the interview and
hope that our readers will be
able to understand the points
brought to light in this exclusive
interview. . . raul trejo.
QUESTION: What is the
status of the Manpower
Program in Starr County and
what are the latest develop-
ments of this project'.'
ANSWER: The court ap-
proximately six weeks ago,
Commissioner Lozano passed a
resolution asking that the South
Texas Development Council be
made the sponsor for the Tri-
County Manpower program. I
pointed out to Mr. Lozano then
and later that this was com-
pletely illegal. It would be
impossible to ask the South
Texas Development Council to
take over the program of three
counties at the request of one of
the counties without consulting
the other two. It was also im-
possible to ask the South Texas
Development Council to take
over project in the middle of the
road.
I understand that the contract
expires in June and that a new
contract would have to be en-
tered into. Mr. Lozano finally
understood the legality of this
and another resolution was
presented to the court on April
8, 1974. This one remanded the
prior one and named a com-
mittee of three to represent
them on all matters pertaining
to Manpower programs and
other Manpower related ac-
tivities. The committee is
composed of Mr. Heberto
Barrera, assistant Starr County
auditor. Commissioner Hector
Lozano and County Com-
missioner Moreno Alaniz. This
committee was stated by the
Roma newspaper that this
committee stripped the county
judge of all his powers and the
representation of all Manpower
programs. At the meeting
yesterday, I informed the court
that in my opinion this was
illegal and I also informed them
that I had been so advised by
attorneys. It is my un-
derstanding the Com-
missioners' Court cannot be
represented by anybody but the
commissioners court, therefore
Mr. Beto Barrera cannot serve
on such a committee. Second,
the By-laws of the South Texas
Development Council are such
that the county judge of each
county of the mayor from each
city must always be
represented in the Development
Council.
There is no exception to this
in the By-laws. I informed them
that there was no way they
could strip me of these duties
and this responsibility. I also
informed them I had very
serious doubts about the
legality of the blue ribbon
committee, they had appointed
and the legality of such a
committee to act in entering
into any type of contract with
the South Texas Development
Council. On Sunday morning,
the two judges from the ad-
joining counties asked that they
could meet with me for a few
minutes. This was an unofficial
visit, it did not constitute any
type of meeting. The three of us
do not comprise a Com-
missioners Court or a South
Texas Development Council or
anything. Judge Flores wanted
to inform me that he had lost
the election and that he would
not be the county judge in
Zapata after Janury 1. He
further informed me that he
had been advised that it would
no longer be possible for Zapata
to continue as the prime
sponsor of the three counties
regarding the Manpower
projects. In view of this, he
asked that we should be
thinking of alternatives. We
have also been told that our
county cannot go at this alone
because of the balance of state
policies of the governor.
Manpower projects could be
handled by the South Texas
Development Council or they
could be handled by the C A P,
or by another similar
organization but the county
alone cannot apply for it since
we do not have 100,000
population. In view of all this, I
have come to the conclusion
that the South Texas
Development Council is
probably the best sponsor. The
South Texas Development
Council allows three
representatives each with one
vote from our county. Prior to
my coming into office we only
had one vote from this county.
At present, the three votes are
divided thus: one, from an
see JUDGE page 16
potential liability exposure, I
think probably that your
obligations to the debenture
holders will not allow these
items to remain unattended to
at the time of your next annual
inspection.
If there is anything I can do to
assist you in accomplishing
these ends, please feel free to
call upon me.
Very truly yours,
S.B. Schuster, P.E.
The court was told by Com-
missioner Amando Pena that
the work was being done as
rapidly as possible and that the
insurance company should be
satisfied.
No other action was taken on
the bridge matter.
The court was then given a
full report from County Judge
Ramirez regarding county
finances.
Ramirez told the court that
the county only had funds to
operate through May and had
only enough funds to pay road
hands through the middle of
July and then the county must
go on script. Script is a form of
IOU from the county to the
people they owe including the
county employees. The em-
ployees who want to use these
IOU usually can go to a grocery
store and sell the IOU for
maybe GO percent of its value
and the grocery store then holds
the IOU until the county gets in
funds in September on October
and cashes in on the IOUs.
Ramirez told the court that
County Auditor E.G. Gonzalez
and himself had gone to the
local bank in hopes of
borrowing money to operate
until the money starts coming
in but were told that it was
impossible to make loan to the
county. Ramirez also told the
court that they had gone back to
the local bank for the last three
see COURT page 11
Guerra-Aguilar taking
races to district court
Two Starr County races will
be going into the courts this
week as Virgilio Guerra and
Elias Aguilar plan to file for an
election contest over results of
the May 4 primary elections.
A spokesman for the two tow
the Herald Wednesday morning
that proper documentation
would be filed either today or
early Friday morning to contest
the election of Starr County
Commissioner for Precinct Two
and the County Clerk's election.
A recount held this week and
completed late Tuesday af-
ternoon ended with Amando
Pena, incumbent with 1,061 and
1,041 for Guerra for the Com-
missioners post.
An 81 vote margin held by
County Clerk Jose S. Hinojosa
dwindled to 54 votes after the
recount and Aguilar will be
taking the race to the courts.
Recounts were held for Pedro
S. Pena who lost as county
precinct chairman of precinct
one to Lloyd Van Nest by two
votes. The recount landed Van
Nest eight more votes and thus
gave him a 10 vote winning
majority.
Mosies Gutierrez held his
see GUERRA pu^e 1 1
Industrial Foundation
will hold info breakfast
The Starr County Non-Profit
Industrial Foundation is being
formed to promote industry in
the area which will create jobs.
A Dutch breakfast meeting
will be held May 21st - 8:30 a.m.
at the Rattler's Den for all
interested people. This will be
the kick off for the Finance
Drive.
I/its of manufacturing firms
are moving into the South Texas
area. Other cities are offering
large incentives to entice these
factory people to move into
their area. Unless we do the
same we will not get the job
related industries. It is ex-
pensive for a factory to move
their personel and equipment
into new territory. It is not wise
for them to invest their working
capitol in land, large new
buildings and ur.trained
workers without some neigh-
borhood assistance.
Our community has had
several inquiries for locations
but to date we have had nothing
to offer Jobs are needed badly
in Starr County and we need to
show these manufacturing
firms that they will be welcome
and be assisted by local in-
terests.
All interested people are
urged to attend this kick-off and
information breakfast.
%

Trejo, Raul. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 32, No. 30, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 16, 1974. Rio Grande City, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth194459/. Accessed December 19, 2014.