What’s the city’s ‘priority’ project?

HARLINGEN — Officials have selected the $14 million convention center as the city’s only project to be funded through property tax revenue generated within three tax zones.

The proposed 43,000-square-foot center, to be built alongside an upscale 150-room hotel, has be-come the latest project to be funded through three tax increment financing reinvestment zones. The project likely puts millions of dollars of street and utility projects on the back burner.

Last month, officials added the convention center project to a list of 94 street and utility projects to be funded through property tax revenues generated within the three incremental zones.

Now, the construction project has become the “priority” among the other projects with total costs listed at about $63 million.

As such, the convention center project would reduce funding from the street and utility projects within the tax increment zones that include work along Rio Hondo Road, Whalen Road, Brazil Road and an Arroyo Colorado bridge project.

Tax law allows the city to fund the construction project through the three tax increment financing reinvestment zones because the convention center would benefit the city’s overall economy, according to city-contracted tax attorney Pete Smith.

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