By Davis Rankin FUTURO McAllen

It’s not the sky falling; it’s the ceiling

For the people who work in the McAllen Parks & Recreation offices, help is on the way. City commissioners at their Monday meeting to set in motion plans for a new parks headquarters building at a location still to be determined.

The decades-old building, described as “terrible” by City Manager Roy Rodriguez in a recent news story, is in a state of disrepair and must be replaced. According to The (McAllen) Monitor, possums and rats have been getting into the building, raising health concerns. The story quotes Parks Director Mike Hernandez saying that this summer some of the creatures were dead in the walls, making working inside impossible for awhile. There are structural issues, too.

Several weeks ago, commissioners contemplated calling a bond issue for this November to pay for traffic and drainage improvements, along with new parks offices, but it has been moved tentatively to next May.

Rodriguez told commissioners Monday that the parks office situation is so dire, they need to act now.

Commissioners voted to take advantage of a provision in federal tax law that allows them to “borrow” from the proceeds of the contemplated bond issue and pay themselves back after it is issued. They passed a resolution declaring their intent to start drawing up plans for a new building, paying for the work out of the budget, and then reimbursing the city after they issue what are known as General Obligation (GO) bonds, which the commission can issue on its own and that do not require an election.

Rodriguez said they should be ready to issue to General Obligation bonds early next year. They intend to issue $6 million in GO bonds, $3 million for a new parks site and office, and $3million to replace fire station #2 on Main Street north of Pecan. The station is too small for new fire equipment. Rodriguez told commissioners that city staffers can do most of the planning work on the new fire station, using existing plans, and that it will be just like the new fire station on East Dallas.

Baggage goes round and round

When the baggage claim carousels at McAllen airport were installed, Bill Clinton was well into his time as president. Mr. Clinton, of course, is no longer in office and, soon, the carousels will be gone, too.

Commissioners Monday voted to accept a bid of $849,400 from G & S USA Mechanical Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, to take out the existing machinery and install new equipment. The federal government will pay 90% of that. The job is scheduled for 120 days. No word on when they start work.

According to a memo to commissioners about the carousels, “maintenance expenses are high and locating parts is extremely difficult.” Not only will the carousels be replaced, but also the baggage conveyors that feed luggage from the planes into the terminal.

Finally, happy birthday to new District Three Commissioner Omar Quintanilla.

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