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Commissioners Court adopts budget and tax rate

The Maverick County Commissioners Court held a meeting on Thursday, September 13 in which they adopted a budget and tax rate under the proposed tax rate.

There were various members of the community present at the meeting. Among them was resident Enriqueta Diaz who spoke out against certain issues that she felt needed to be addressed by the court before actually approving a final budget including clearing up how funds from the Maverick County Landfill half a cent sales tax were represented in the budget and being used properly and or allocated.

Judge Saucedo thanked the individuals and addressed the issue stating that he was not there to argue with anyone but to work on fixing things and work with the concerned citizens.

“We appreciate that you take the time to come here. I’m ready to sit down with you all and see what you are seeing that we might not be seeing so we can fix it now,” said Saucedo.

Another issue that came up during the meeting was a proposed increase in fire protection fees the City of Eagle Pass is seeking to increase from $400,000 to $1,200,000 an increase of 200 %.

The court proceeded to take certain items into executive session to consult with the county attorney over various legal questions that needed to be asked and answered before proceeding with the rest of the agenda which included adopting a budget and tax rate.

Once back into open session Judge Saucedo opened up the agenda items for discussion and a possible vote.

The court discussed and pointed out that a line item had been added to show the funds brought in to the County Landfill from the half a cent sales tax revenues.

Commissioners Court then approved the new budget, tax rate increase and the tax rate resolution.

The approved tax rate is $0.5434 per every $100 valuation a $0.1 cent difference from what was originally being proposed which was $0.5534 per every $100 valuation.

The increase for the coming fiscal year is $ 0.314 cents from last years tax rate of $0.5120 per every $100 valuation.

Emergency Election Election Day to bring out a large amount of persons

Election day for the run-off between Democrat Pete Gallego and Republican Peter Flores comes to a close on Tuesday in what could be a low contested race across Texas District 19. Both Candidates are hoping to get elected to the vacated Senator seat left open when Ex- Senator Carlos Uresti resigned after being indicted and found guilty on felony charges.

Election day will be on Tuesday, September, 18 and hopes increased voter participation are bleak.

Locally there are approximately 29,000 registered voters but less than 5 % are expected to vote.

The vacated District 19 Texas Senator seat has been vacant since defunct Senator Carlos Uresti resigned on Monday, June 14 after he was convicted on 11 felony charges four months prior. Uresti had been holding the seat until he finally heeded calls from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to step down.

The initial race drew much interest and had many candidates run for the position. In the end, the only two standing and set to face in a run-off election were Gallego and Flores.

Election day voting sites have been consolidated and are as follows; Precinct 1A,1B,1C, will all be voting at Memorial Junior High School located at 1800 Lewis St.

Precinct 2A and 2B will be voting at the San Luis Elementary located 2090- A Williams St.

Precinct 2C and 2 D will vote at Rosita Valley Elementary located at 735 Rosita Valley Rd.

Precinct 3A and 3B will vote at Seco Mines Elementary located at 2900 Diaz St. Precinct 3C will vote at the Quemado Community Center located at 20160 U.S. HWY 277.

Precinct 4A, 4B, 4C and 4 D will be voting at the Eagle Pass High School Girls Gym on 2020 Second St.

City of Eagle Pass raises cost of Fire Protection to Maverick County

The City of Eagle Pass is looking to increase the Maverick County Fire Protection fee by 200% for this coming fiscal year.

During the past weeks the City of Eagle Pass has been discussing the agreement they have with Maverick County for fire and ambulance services and possible changes to their service agreement.

Maverick County Judge David Saucedo brought up the issue during a Commissioners Court meeting held on Thursday, September 14. Judge Saucedo stated that some of the issues the county was looking at were the city seeking to increase its charge for the fire/emergency services fee from $400,000 to $1,200,000 a year a 200% increase.

Judge Saucedo stated he did not agree with the increase that the city is proposing. “ We now have to deal with an entity that wants to charge $1,200,000 for fire protection services for this year when last year it was at $400,000” said Saucedo

The county could possibly begin looking into what options they have including the possibilities of establishing their own Fire District/Fire Department.

The Eagle Pass City Council recently discussed the issue an ordered city administration to start looking at negotiating a new Fire and Emergency Services contract with Maverick County.

Recently the Eagle Pass City Council were notified by the Eagle Pass Fire department that they are short staffed and would be requesting to hire more personnel for this coming fiscal year due to the increase of emergency calls they handle on a yearly basis in and out of city limits.

The city is looking at hiring 6 new firefighters and other moves among the existing personnel to handle the workload.

Lupita Fuentes announces candidacy for School Board

My name is Lupita Fuentes and I am announcing my candidacy for reelection for the Eagle Pass Independent School District Place 5.
I was raised in Maverick County and attended EPISD schools before continuing my education to become a nurse. I received extensive education in Health, Child Development and Early Childhood Counseling.
As with a large portion of Maverick Countians, my first employment experience was as a seasonal farm worker (migrant). In 1982, I began working for the WIC (Women, Infant, Children) Program as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Within 6 months in this position, I was promoted to Supervisor, then Coordinator and ultimately Director of this wonderful program.
I have a strong sense of commitment of service to our community. I have proudly served as your EPISD School Board Trustee since 2003. I also serve as the Public Representative for KIDS ARE FIRST Head Start, which enables me to be a voice not only for early childhood students, but for parents and staff as well. I am a member of the American Cancer Society and served as Co-Chair of Relay for Life for 3 consecutive years. I served as a Delegate of the Texas Association of School Board, Texas WIC Program Region 8 Representative, and am an active member of the Texas Association of Local WIC Directors and of the National WIC Association.
I am the proud mother of three children, twins Manrique Jr. and Kristina Marie Hernandez, as well as Victor Adrian Fuentes. I am now a very proud grandmother of 8 grandchildren, of which 6 are enrolled in our school district.
I also have four brothers and three sisters, of which ONLY ONE works for our school district. My sister, Aracely, was hired on March 14, 1990, long before I was elected to serve on the school board in 2003. She is an outstanding third grade teacher at Benavides Elementary.
In December 2006, my daughter Kristina graduated early from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Since I had won my re-election to a second term, Kristina decided to stay in San Antonio and work there as a teacher, which would allow me to continue serving on our school board. Nepotism law does not allow for family members to be hired while we serve on the school board.
In June 2009, I was hospitalized after having suffered a stroke. I made one of the hardest decisions of my life and turned in my letter of resignation to my recently elected position on the school board. My daughter, Kristina, decided to come home to be by my side. She applied for a teaching position and was hired by her own merit. In 2010, she married her high school sweetheart, Armando Hernandez, who had already been working as a teacher for four years, and who continues working as a Life Skills teacher, totally committed to his wonderful students.
Last, but not least, my daughter-in-law, Lupita Fuentes, was already an EPISD employee when she married my son, Manrique Jr. Lupita holds the position of Service Advocate Recruiter (SAR). Her salary is the same pay grade as ALL other SARS in our school district and received the 5.42% increase that was approved, not one cent more. She DID NOT receive a $3,000 raise.
In 2010, I made the decision to run again for school board and with our community’s support, I was elected and have continuously served since then.
I am extremely proud of the remarkable progress achieved in all aspects within our school district:

Academically, we are one of the top districts in our region, thanks to a combined effort of all teachers, students, parents and support staff;
Early College High Schools-Both high schools offer students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s Degree at no cost, while attaining their high school diploma. This program grants a college degree to students who might otherwise not seek a post-secondary education;
Magnet Schools-The school district has magnet schools to challenge our students. It offers an Engineering Academy and Health Science Academy. These academies prepare students for high-wage earning jobs and a successful post-secondary education;
Dual Credit Courses-Both high schools offer dual credit courses. Students are able to enroll in courses that will give them a head start in their college careers. These courses save parents several thousands of dollars in tuition and room and board expenses;
Chromebook Initiative-Over the last two years, our school district has provided all campuses with Chromebooks. These laptop-type devices are moving our district closer to a One-to-One technology device implementation program;
MyOn-For the 2018-2019 school year, our district has provided all teachers with this e-book platform. MyOn includes digital libraries that support the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. Students can easily access the reading material and match it to the appropriate AR level;
We implemented the Accelerated High School Program in the 2013-2014 school year. This schedule allows students to get as many as 10 credits per school year. Students are able to receive one full academic credit in one semester. This innovative schedule also gives students the flexibility to take more dual credit courses;
The Online Registration via txConnect committee planned and implemented the new online registration process for all returning and new to the district students.
During my tenure, two bond issues were approved by voters to construct two new elementary schools, add many additional rooms to existing campuses, plus the construction of our Student Activity Center (SAC), for first class athletic and cultural facilities for our students.
All this, while at the same time maintaining responsible and financial stability. I have always voted in favor of salary increases for all employees in our district. Teacher salaries have increased by 59% during my time on the school board. We have had no Health Insurance premium increases. In the 2015-2016 school year, the health insurance deductible was removed for all prescription drugs and dental, again without increasing health insurance premiums.
I must express my most sincere gratitude to our board of trustees for always working diligently to promote the highest possible standards in education. Thank you for always staying focused and for always striving to make the best decisions, the right decisions for our children, our teachers, support staff, parents and our entire community! We will continue working towards Excellence in Education!
I respectfully ask for your vote and support during Early Voting October 22nd –November 2nd

Man trapped after Motor Vehicle Accident

On Friday, September 14, 2018 priliminary reports indicate that a male driver of a Nissan Altima was struck by an 18 wheeler near the intersection of 277 north and FM 1664. The driver of the Altima was trapped inside the vehicle. First responders from the Eagle Pass Fire Department arrived on scene and proceeded to use the jaws of life to extract the male subject from the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle was transported to Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The Texas Department of Transportation took over the scene and is currently investigating the incident.

Mexican Consulate celebrates 16 de septiembre

The Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass and the City of Eagle Pass is hosting a ceremony to celebrate Mexico’s 208th El Grito de la Independencia anniversary on Saturday, September 15, at the San Juan Plaza in downtown Eagle Pass from 6 :00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Mexican Consulate for Eagle Pass Ismael Navejas Macias invites the community to attend and help commemorate this very important day in Mexico’s history. “ The day will be filled with events including live mariachi music, Mexican Folklorico dances, and other entertainment, antojitos Mexicano’s and El Grito de Dolores ceremony.” said Macias.

The City of Eagle Pass invites you to come join in on the family oriented event.

For more information, please contact the Eagle Pass Parks and Recreation Department at (830) 773-4343 or the Mexican Consulate Office in Eagle Pass at (830) 773-9256.

As the anniversary of City Hacking looms, little has been done

December will be one year since the Eagle Pass Water Work System EPWWS computer systems main servers were hacked into and breached.

Back then EPWWS General Manager Jorge Barrera informed the community that the hackers breached one of the main systems used by the organization multiple times since late November and into early December 2017. The hack with the database company Equifax went on for more than six weeks according to a congressional investigation.

The incident was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and continues being investigated.

The EPWWS system may have been compromised by a security breach and possibly sensitive personal information remained in the database at the time of the breach, including customer social security numbers, home addresses, payment information as well as employee information, telephone numbers, and payroll information.

The hack/breach and possible theft of sensitive information could have affected all waterworks system customers and employees, including individuals who use the city’s website to make a payment.

The company where the hack originated was Equifax who suffered one of the largest breach of information in U.S.history exposing
the financial information of more than 145 million Americans.

A congressional investigation was launched but no enforcement actions have been taken against the giant credit-reporting agency.

The company remains in business and has even recovered after stock fell and has even reported a profit of $236 million this year despite the breach.

Equifax officials admitted to many mistakes such as an outdated list of computer systems administrators and non-action to act on software vulnerability.

Equifax has said that its taken steps to fix the issues that allowed the breach to occur including a possible increased investment in security and technology by more than $200 million this year.

The company has given consumers more control over their Equifax data including setting up a free credit-alert service.

An investigation into the matter is ongoing into the theft of information but is unclear if the FBI, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission is looking into the actions of the company and its executives.

The hackers who stole personal information from millions of people have not been identified.