Land donation to county in limbo

BROWNSVILLE — Commissioner Gus Ruiz will have to wait another week for a decision on the proposed land donation he wants for a new Precinct 4 warehouse.

“It’s a no-brainer. This is a potential land donation,” said Ruiz, Cameron County Precinct 4 commissioner. “We are attempting to save taxpayer money.”

The property is located off White Ranch Road near Expressway 83 and has been valued at more than $100,000.

The five-acre tract the Cameron County commissioners are mulling over is part of 50 acres owned by the Leon and Linda Bence Revocable Trust.

A revocable trust can be altered or canceled by the grantor if provisions agreed to are not met.

The donation carries a time condition of 18 to 24 months to build the warehouse facilities.

County Administrator David Garcia recommended the commission table the agenda item Tuesday morning to work on ironing out the terms and conditions over the use of the land.

Garcia also said the land needed to be surveyed for electrical and water utilities.

“We are looking at a donation with no costs for the five acres,” Garcia said. “I think it’s a great location if we can iron out the details.”

However, Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez, who represents Precinct 2, made it loud and clear he would not vote for the proposal if there were stipulations that bound future commissioners on what the land could be used for.

“I don’t want to bind the hands of future commissioners in case the needs of the county change,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez called the offer incredible but was leery of the potential for unforeseen developments years down the road in regards to the property.

Commissioner David Garza, who represents Precinct 3, agreed the current Precinct 4 warehouse was very constrained and the proposed location would provide good access to the south side of the county.

Travis Bence, co-trustee of the Bence property, was present at the meeting to share information with the court about the property donation.

Bence said the hopes are that the remaining 45 acres of land will be developed for commercial, residential or mixed-use projects.

Bence would like to see a warehouse or administration building on the donated land named after his parents, Leon and Linda Bence.

“I believe we can come up to a comfortable meeting ground of what the land can and cannot be used for,” Bence said.