What’s happening in Palm Valley

Citation increase

PALM VALLEY — Anyone who is busted for littering or illegal dumping in the city could face much heftier fines in the future.

If a person is caught illegally dumping trash items in the city, fines could run between $50 and $500 for each offense.

That is after city officials voted Monday in favor of amending an ordinance to increase the potential fines.

The issue came up when a local resident complained about people dumping items, such as mattresses and other garbage off of Dilworth Road between Country Club Estates and Palm Valley.

A 1981 ordinance previously set the fines for between $10 and $100.

On Monday, city officials agreed that fine structure was too low to be a deterrent.

“This is enough now to put more teeth into the ordinance,” Palm Valley Police Chief Alvaro Garcia said to the city council.

However, it won’t be the police or the council who will decide the fine for the offense.

Garcia said typically police try to keep the situation from reaching the citation level.

For years, the city has written letters to the property owners and given them 10 days to remedy the situation. Then, another letter is sent before they are cited.

The scenario also includes anyone caught bringing garbage or other items into Palm Valley and dumping them.

City Attorney Jason Mann said the judge will determine the citation amount. The police decide whether to cite or not.

Mann suggested it’s likely the more significant dumping will probably result in a larger fine.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance amendment.

Being proactive

PALM VALLEY — City officials are going to make sure they are able to control any cell phone companies from installing or constructing small cell facilities anywhere in or around the city.

And, if cell phone companies do want to install equipment, the city will receive money to utilize the right of way.

Palm Valley Mayor George Rivera said in order to make sure a cell phone company can’t just do what it wants when it comes to installing their “small cell” equipment, the city must create an ordinance.

Rivera said he had been in contact with McAllen and Alamo officials to utilize their ordinances.

The requirements will include filing fees that are the maximum the state allows for applications ad annual right-of-way fees. The application will require inspections and other city scrutiny before anything can be installed.

“I don’t think they are coming into the city, but I would hate for them to put them along our fence,” Rivera said. “We need this for compensation too. If we don’t have this, we won’t get money.”

City Council member Debe Wright called the small cell facilities “ugly.”

That’s why Rivera said most of the small cities in the Valley are creating the ordinance and implementing application and annual fees.

City officials are expected to vote on the matter at the Dec. 19 meeting.