*As published by The Monitor in 1988
Hidalgo County Commissioner Norberto Salinas has announced he will seek reelection to a third term as Precinct 3 county commissioner. “There’s still much work to be done in the area I represent,” said the local businessman and father of four.
Salinas is currently an active member of various civic and community organizations. In addition he recently was elected state chairman of the Mexican American Democrats of Texas, one of the most visible and politically active organizations in the state. He is a native of Hidalgo County, having been born in Cuevitas to Adan and Yolanda Salinas, who now live in Sullivan City where they have farming and ranching interests. Salinas cited accomplishments of his last two terms in announcing his candidacy.
In an effort to improve public health services, the Hidalgo County Health Clinic in Mission was built to serve women and children in need, he said. “Now, approximately 2,000 persons take advantage of immunizations, maternity services, family planning services and preventive check-ups for well children, Salinas said.
Public health services were non-existent in La Joya until October of last year, he said, when Precinct 3 funds allowed a full-time clinic to open there. Land was donated and a grant acquired to bring Hidalgo County Health Care Corporation services into the Mission area, he said. This clinic, which provides primary health care, is next door to the Public Health Clinic to facilitate access for more people.
In the areas of community development and improvement, Salinas said he backed creation of a new county planning department, which will enforce existing regulations on colonia development. The commissioner said injunctions have been filed in Precinct 3 against developers who failed to comply with the regulations and as a result about $300,000 worth of improvements have been made by developers in colonias in his precinct. “No longer will residents be cheated of their investments for lots that do not fulfill their expectations,” Salinas said.
For years residents of his precinct have been dumping trash along the Military Highway, he said, because they had no other choice. In 1985, how-ever, commissioners leased 116 acres of land in Penitas and obtained a Texas Department of health permit to operate a land- fill for residents of Penitas, Abram, La Joya, Sullivan City and Los Ebanos. The landfill will be operated by county staff and equipment, with the service to be provided free of charge, he said.
On the subject of farmers and farmworkers, Salinas noted. “One is just as important as the other, as neither can exist with out the other. I have had good communication with the farmworkers and have helped them with their needs.”
He said improvements in county roads help farmers get their products to market. He also supported the international marketing campaign of 1015 onions, he said. The county has completed 92 miles of paved roads in Precinct 3, a project begun in 1981, Salinas pointed out. “We have saved Precinct 3 taxpayers approximately $3.5 million in road improvements by using our own county equipment, staff and supervisors, he said.
Mission’s new Mission Boys’ and Girls’ Club broke ground recently, Salinas said, adding this is a joint venture between the city, school district and Precinct 3, with the school providing the land, the County providing the building expected to cost about $100,000, and the city providing the staff.
In the area of law enforcement, Salinas supported expansion of the sheriff’s department for security in rural areas. “I work closely with the sheriffs office and I supported the recent addition of 44 new patrol cars,” he said.
The commissioner also cited support of the Hidalgo County Women’s Political Caucus. “Through their direction, I have been able to appoint six women to different boards and commissions within the county, he said.
He said he is particularly proud of his work in improving conditions in 17 area colonias. Funded by a Texas Department of Community Affairs grant of $400,000 and in-kind work totaling $750,000, these improvements included upgrading drainage and paving of roads in seven colonias in the Sullivan. City area, three in Palmview, three in Tierra Blanca, one in Alton (Colonia Rosalinda) and three in the Trosper Road area.
“I think the quality of life for those residents has been upgraded,” he said. Tax dollars set aside for maintenance of parks have been used well, Salinas said, citing creation of six pavilions since 1981 – the Veterans Pavilion, the Ramiro Guerra Pavilion in McAllen, the Sister Carol Ann Messina Pavilion in Alton, the La Joya County. Pavilion, and Santos F. Saldana County Pavilion and Park that is now being built.
The county has invested funds in baseball parks, also, he said, naming the Los Ebanos County, Bob Rodriguez and Abram County baseball parks. Lighting has been added at Anzalduas Park, barbeque pits and picnic areas are replaced regularly, and security now is in place on a full-time basis, he added.
Another project the commissioner is working on is the Los Ebanos-Diaz Ordaz international bridge to replace the ferry. He said the project has to potential to promote economic development and job creation. “This is a dream for not only both sides of the immediate border but for La Joya, Sullivan City, Mission and McAllen, as well,” he said.
Plans for the future include:
- A county park and pavilion for Sharyland which is needed by 4-H Clubbers.
- A commitment and priority on drainage problems in McAllen and Mission.
- Completing a minimum of 40 more miles of paving in rural areas without creating a road district or additional taxes.
“My communication will not be limited to officials and/or administrators of cities,” Salinas said. “I will continue to keep my door open for all constituents.”