San Benito leaders question validity of Texas ‘best, worst city’ list

SAN BENITO — City officials don’t always agree.

But there is one matter they’re all on the same page about.

A recent report labeling San Benito as one of the worst places for Texas families is completely inaccurate, they all agree.

Mayor Celeste Sanchez dismissed the survey results.

“I can conduct a survey that will produce the opposite results. Surveys can be used to destroy people and institutions, especially when they are not validated by nationwide trials.”

The report in question, “2016’s Best and Worst Cities for Texas Families,” was compiled by WalletHub and emailed to area media outlets this past week.

Of the 112 “largest” cities in Texas that were included, Southlake topped the list as the best and Weslaco as the worst.

Seven other Valley cities also made the list to varying degrees — Edinburg was the highest-ranked city in the Valley at 59, followed by McAllen at 72, Harlingen at 80, Pharr at 86, Brownsville at 92, San Juan at 99 and San Benito at 106.

“These surveys should not be a way to gauge why not to build here or why not to live here. The numbers in this survey are contradictory, showing other larger Valley cities with greater assets at the end of the scoring list, which goes to show you that it is not a very accurate picture of the cities as they have ranked them,” said Interim Police Chief Michael Galvan.

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How did the Valley rank?

While Rio Grande Valley cities fared the worst in socioeconomic and income levels, there were some good rankings in other categories.

– Family Life and Fun Rank – Includes number of playgrounds, attractions, weather and commute time.

No. 1 – Brownsville

No. 6 – Edinburg

No. 8 – Mission

No. 17 – San Juan

No. 18 – Pharr

No. 55 – San Benito

No. 56 – McAllen

No. 66 – Harlingen

No. 74 – Weslaco

– Education, Health and Safety – Includes quality of schools, air quality, number of pediatricians, violent and property crime rates.

No. 56 – Harlingen

No. 60 – Mission

No. 63 – San Benito

No. 64 – McAllen

No. 73 – Pharr

No. 75 – Brownsville

No. 80 – San Juan

No. 87 – Edinburg

No. 112 – Weslaco

Key Stats

– Colleyville has the lowest property-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 5.70, which is 12 times lower than in Weslaco, the city with the highest, 70.83.

– Southlake has the highest cost-of-living-adjusted median family annual income, $132,345, which is three times higher than in San Benito, the city with the lowest, $45,099.

– Colleyville has the lowest percentage of families living below the poverty line, 1.3 percent, which is 27 times lower than in San Benito, the city with the highest, 34.4 percent.

– Southlake has the highest school system quality, six times higher than in Odessa, the city with the lowest.

What is WalletHub?

WalletHub was founded by finance expert Odysseas Papadimitriou, who in January 2015 lent his expertise to a New York Times article, “Study Finds Local Taxes Hit Lower Wage Earners Harder.” His company has produced similar rankings for other states, rating pet friendliness, environmental awareness, safety, employment opportunities, colleges and school systems.