In criticizing Mayor Boswell’s statements that Harlingen’s tax rate is the lowest of the major communities in Cameron County, Robert Leftwich incorrectly stated Brownsville’s tax rate is lower than Harlingen’s.
Brownsville’s tax rate is 0.70. San Benito’s is 0.728. Los Fresnos is 0.71 and La Feria is 0.76.
Harlingen’s tax rate is .588 and since Chris Boswell has served as Mayor, the tax rate has not gone up once but has gone down once.
Leftwich also incorrectly asserts that Harlingen’s “building activities are at the bottom of the List.”
Since 2006, the tax base in Harlingen has gone from $2.25 billion to $3.23 billion — a 50 percent increase.
In 2013 alone, Harlingen’s commercial building permits were the highest in the Valley at $134 million compared to $60 million in Brownsville and $88 million in McAllen. And that was not as a result of the school district’s building program which spanned at least three years.
He also complains about increased debt. But he does not tell you that the largest part of that debt, which was for the Bass Pro Shop project and development, is entirely supported by Economic Develoment Corporation funds and which in no way impacts the general fund used for basic city services.
Leftwich campaigned on and, as Commissioner, voted to approve the debt issuance of which he now complains. As Leftwich is fond of saying, that is “disingenuous and misleading to voters.”
Leftwich also wrongly attacks Commissioner Uhlhorn for the Refrigerated Produce Inspection Station at Los Indios designed to attract more produce to cross at Los Indios.
That’s a joint project with San Benito and Cameron County.
And it will help boost revenues for our bridge. It has nothing to do with Commissioner Uhlhorn’s business.
Finally, Leftwich complains of “wasteful government spending and backroom insider dealings.”
Of course, he doesn’t count among those the 5-year $3.5 million deal which Mayor Boswell championed to keep Leftwich’s employer, United Launch Alliance, from moving to Alabama thus retaining 180 good paying aerospace jobs in Harlingen.
Maybe Leftwich should stop criticizing Mayor Boswell and just thank him for saving his job.
Curtis Bonner, former chairman, Harlingen Waterworks board chairman
Connie de la Garza, former Harlingen mayor
Jay Meade, former Harlingen city commissioner
Eddie Medrano, former Harlingen city commissioner