Monday, February 1, 2010

McAllen Mayor touts city's sound financial footing in the annual State of the City address

McAllen mayor touts city's sound financial footing in address

By Nick Pipitone The Monitor, Mc Allen, Texas
Publication: The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)
Date: Friday, January 22 2010
NAI Rio Grande Valley

Jan. 22--MCALLEN -- Mayor Richard Cortez said the city is well-positioned to rebound from the recession and touted several completed and future city projects during the annual State of the City address at the McAllen Convention Center Thursday.

In front of a few hundred people -- including some U.S. and Mexican dignitaries -- Cortez said McAllen was on strong financial footing despite the economic malaise of the past two years.

Cortez cited the $226 million in the city's total fund balance at the end of the 2008-2009 fiscal year and a recent study by the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank that reported that the Greater McAllen area was No. 1 in the nation in job growth in the third quarter of 2009.

"Just as we didn't wait around for the recession to begin, we won't wait around for it to end," Cortez said in the large conference room with three large video screens mounted behind him and several elaborate displays showcasing the city's new "green" movement.

But Cortez, who is approaching his fifth year as mayor, also said many of his grandest visions are on hold because of the nationwide credit crunch. Delayed projects include the landing of a much-coveted auto manufacturing plant and the Boeye Reservoir redevelopment, a proposed 67-acre retail and residential complex that was set to be located above the reservoir.

The city has been in negotiations to land an auto manufacturer here for the past several years but has steadfastly refused to divulge any details because of the delicate nature of the talks.

"Yes, we continue to have dialogue with them and we're still in competition with other areas," Cortez said of the negotiations. "But we're hopeful that if we can resolve the differences in what they want and what we're willing to give, we may be fortunate to bring them here."

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