(Note: Candidate Avelardo Mireles did not respond to our questionnaire.)
Name: Pablo Morales
Occupation: Insurance Agent
Years in Community: Resident of Lyford since 1983
Community Involvement: Lyford Christmas Parade and Festival Committee Leader, Vice President of the Economic Development Corporation, Member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Little League Softball Coach
Family: Son of Anastacia Morales, retired Lyford business owner, and the late Pedro Morales, Sr. Married to Nora Ann Morales together we have raised five children total, three boys Santana, Hilario and Gavino, and two girls Madelin and Lily.
Question 1: How would you describe the city’s current financial status, including the property tax rate, assessment levels and overall development and direction of the city?
We are in good standing overall with city finances. We are able to stay current with any outstanding debt mostly in part to our sound financial practices, which are evident in our annual fiscal audits. We have a great team of city management that always steers us in the right direction when it comes to spending. Our current City Secretary, Lydia Moreno along with our Assistant Secretary Benito Estrada, keep us abreast of any risk or changes in revenue, which allow for us to make any necessary adjustments to our city budget. Current property tax rates have not changed over the past ten years, with that said; the economy of city has gradually gotten better with the institution of local businesses such as the Dollar General, the RGV Credit Union and other local small business. This growth is mostly due to the establishment of our local Economic Development Corporation.
Question 2: What are the city’s short-term and long-term infrastructure needs and how should city officials address these matters, specifically financially?
Our short term goals include improving existing drainage problems when it comes to flooding. A recent development of Central Park along Broadway Street included the preservation of a retention pond that is intended to flood and contain water that would otherwise flood our city streets. City funding recently included an award of a grant that will be put to use in continuing to address these issues. It’s often tough finding creative ways around budget constraints to improve our city infrastructure, but in collaboration with private consultant groups we have managed to stay self-sufficient when making these necessary improvements. Our water and sewer upgrades are a direct result of effective budget planning.
Long term goals include strategies to attract more business that would encourage our youth to return back and resettle into our community. In a couple of months we expect a groundbreaking ceremony of a Lyford Rural Health Clinic, that will meet the healthcare needs to our residents and neighboring communities.
Question 3: Other than what has already been mentioned, what other issue faces the city of Lyford now and into the near future?
Streets are always a big concern for Lyford residents. It’s actually the focal point of my most recent conversations when campaigning. The constant use of city streets by school and workforce traffic, takes a toll. We recently repaved Oleander Street; once riddled with potholes it was difficult for parents and students to commute to school every day. The two block stretch of street cost over 80,000.00 dollars, which included the redirection of water lines and curb improvements. For a small city of 2600 residents, that can be overwhelming to our budget, but we will eventually get to all improvements needed.
Question 4: Why should voters choose you in this election?
I grew up and graduated in Lyford and will continue to raise my children here. I take pride in seeing our community succeed. I am humbled when families enjoy the benefits of a small city and can come together safely in our parks for festivals and other local events. I strive to improve our quality of living here in Lyford. These past 10 years I have learned what it takes to work hard and improve our city; and to maintain a diplomatic relationship with our county officials. If re-elected I will continue to work hard to see that through.