Candidate Question – Isidro Marquez, Harlingen Commissioner District 1

Isidro Marquez

Retiree, Veteran, & Harlingen Resident

I have been married to Janie, a retiree of Harlingen CISD, for the past 44 years. Together, we have raised three children, all proud graduates of Harlingen High School.

Harlingen has been our family’s home for the past 32 years and now, as I retiree, I choose to dedicate my time to local entities such as the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I appreciate the opportunity to provide the community with answers to these vital questions and look forward to representing District 1.

1. How would you describe the city’s current financial situation, including the property tax rate, assessment levels, sales tax receipts and overall development and direction of the city?

Harlingen needs to build its cash reserves to a higher level.

How is this possible?

The best option is to recruit high tech manufacturing that, in turn, will bring more growth and higher tax revenue.

2. Specifically what are the city’s short-term and long-term infrastructure needs and how should city officials address these matters, specifically financially?

As for a short-term infrastructure goal, I find it critical to replace old sewer line in areas that cause flooding. We must be proactive in our approach for dealing with severe weather.

My long-term infrastructure plan is to increase the amount of lift stations in areas for potential growth.

3. By the time this election is over, the Convention will likely have had its Grand Opening. What are your opinions about the convention center? What concerns, if any, do you have about the Convention Center and its future finances?

The convention center, in my opinion, is not in the perfect location. Therefore, I do believe it will take very aggressive promotion to make it profitable.

4. Downtown property owners are facing better than 50 percent property assessment increases, likely leading to higher taxes. What do you think about these assessments and can the city do anything about this situation and what is the impact as the renovations on the Baxter Building are completed?

Property taxes increasing by 50 percent will hurt small businesses. Those small businesses are an important part of our community.

The city needs to work with the taxing authority to re-evaluate those extremely high taxes. In my opinion, the Baxter Building should have been torn down decades ago.

5. The outlook of malls around the country is dark and gloomy and Valle Vista has seen its share of changing and leaving anchor stores during the past couple of years. What can and should the city do to save Valle Vista or should any efforts by the city be made to save it occur at all?

The mall was in trouble 20 years ago when I was the head of the Economic Development Corporation in Harlingen. Back then, Valle Vista Mall refused to take pesos, in comparison to the other malls in the Valley which did.

That rigidity to change hurt our prospects. It is obvious that retail has continued to change since then.

The way people shop has changed. Now is the time to be innovative in order to secure the future of Valle Vista Mall.

6. Are there any issues you believe are key to Harlingen, that haven’t been asked here? How would you address them?

Harlingen is a hub of transportation. We need to promote the Los Indios Bridge, the Port of Harlingen, and the Valley International Airport.

People need to know that we have the largest airport in the valley with the longest runways.

Why should voters choose you in this election?

My years in manufacturing, logistics, transportation and economic development give me the experience to contribute to my community, the City of Harlingen.