UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville to benefit from combined $178.4 million for major facilities, says Rep. Canales
House approves $178.4 million for new construction at UTPA, UT-Brownsville
The day after the House of Representatives gave final approval to landmark legislation merging the University of Texas-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, state lawmakers passed a key funding bill that will provide a combined $178.4 million for new construction at both campuses, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured right, has announced. House members gave final approval on Tuesday, May 21, for passage of Senate Bill 16, by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, that authorizes the issuance of $2.7 billion in tuition revenue bonds for institutions of higher education statewide to finance construction and improvement of infrastructure and related facilities. Almost $79 million will go to UT-Pan American to build a Science Building II, a sophisticated facility featuring classrooms and laboratories designed to provide state-of-the-art education for students majoring in science, technology, and math, said Canales, whose House District 40 includes the university and the UT Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division. “In both cases, the Valley legislative delegation remained united, knowing full-well that this new University of Texas system, to be made up of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville along with the UT medical school, is going to transform, forever and for the better, our economy, education, medical care, and prestige,” said Canales. “We worked together for the benefit of the entire region. This is just the beginning.” The South Texas lawmaker is shown here on the House floor with Rep. Tryon Lewis, R-Odessa.
Photograph by HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville
to benefit from combined $178.4 million
for major facilities, says Rep. Canales
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
The day after the House of Representatives gave final approval to landmark legislation merging the University of Texas-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, state lawmakers passed a key funding bill that will provide a combined $178.4 million for new construction at both campuses, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced.
House members gave final approval on Tuesday, May 21, for passage of Senate Bill 16, by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, that authorizes the issuance of $2.7 billion in tuition revenue bonds for institutions of higher education statewide to finance construction and improvement of infrastructure and related facilities.
The version approved by the House contained a few minor changes, so the legislation goes back to the Senate for their acceptance, and then would go to Gov. Rick Perry for his review and action.
Almost $79 million will go to UT-Pan American to build a Science Building II, a sophisticated facility featuring classrooms and laboratories designed to provide state-of-the-art education for students majoring in science, technology, and math, said Canales, whose House District 40 includes the university and the UT Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division.
UT-Brownsville, which is negotiating with the City of Brownsville to acquire nearly 70 acres of city-owned land for its new campus, will receive $100 million for facilities.
The House approval of Senate Bill 16 followed its approval on Monday, May 20, of Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which sets into motion the UTPA/UT-B merger. Senate Bill 16 also includes the creation of a UT medical school.
Canales hailed the final House passage of SB 16 and SB 24 as unprecedented victories for the Rio Grande Valley.
“In both cases, the Valley legislative delegation remained united, knowing full-well that this new University of Texas system, to be made up of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville along with the UT medical school, is going to transform, forever and for the better, our economy, education, medical care, and prestige,” said Canales. “We worked together for the benefit of the entire region. This is just the beginning.”
Initially, UTPA had been designated to receive $98 million for the Science Building II, but Canales and other South Texas legislators agreed to the lesser amount in order to help UT-Brownsville build a new campus. Last year, UT-Brownsville separated from Texas Southmost College, and in doing so, must replace crucial classroom space formerly provided by TSC.
“We are all going to be one university now, so we had no hesitation in Hidalgo County helping UT-Brownsville,” Canales reflected. “Soon enough, we will have access to the Permanent University Fund, which will be a major source of construction money for both campuses and the medical school. There’s no stopping us now.”
The Permanent University Fund is an endowment fund that supports certain universities in the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems through investments made with state oil and gas royalties.
Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 24, UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville did not have access to the PUF.
On December 31, 2012 the market value and book value of the PUF was $13.9 billion and $11.9 billion, respectively, exclusive of land acreage. Today the PUF contains 2.1 million acres located in 24 counties primarily in West Texas.
Under Senate Bill 16, tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) are financing mechanisms used by which institutions of higher education to fund capital projects such as institutional construction, renovation projects, equipment, and infrastructure, according to the bill analysis of the measure.
The Legislature must authorize issuance of TRBs and typically appropriates general revenue to reimburse institutions for the tuition used to pay the debt service.
Also according to the bill analysis of Senate Bill 16:
SB 16 would support a wide range of critical facilities projects at higher education institutions throughout the state that play an important role in enhancing opportunities for a quality education. Renovations, repairs, upkeep, and new facilities are essential to the state’s ability to provide a high quality and competitive education to Texas students.
Higher education institutions depend on state support for maintenance and expansion to keep pace with the exploding growth in student enrollment and to maintain and enhance the quality of education these students receive.
A highly skilled and well-educated workforce is vital to remaining economically competitive in a global marketplace. Texas has devoted much to creating and securing the reputation as providing a good environment for business. A world-class workforce is a key part of this
TRBs are the most cost-effective means of financing construction or improvements of durable capital infrastructure, and construct facilities that can be used while the debt is being paid off. The bonds would be pledged against university revenues and thus would pose little financial risk for the state. Interest rates on recent bond issuances, moreover, have been secured at remarkably low levels.
SB 16 is also tied into the passage of three other major bills:
• Senate Joint Resolution 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would use the state’s Rainy Day Fund to boost public education ($800 million); provide $2 billion for water projects in the State Water Plan; and provide $2.9 billion for transportation projects. The Rainy Day Fund is a savings fund that allows states to set aside excess revenue for use in times of unexpected revenue shortfall. The Rainy Day Fund is projected to have almost $12 billion by the end of August 2013.
• Senate Bill 1, the state budget; and
• House Bill 1025, a supplemental budget bill that addresses funding needs for the current two-year state budget, which ends on August 31.
Permission is granted for the use of all or portions of this photograph, caption, and article by the news media, including Internet-only news media sites. Credit to www.EdinburgPolitics.com is not required but would be appreciated. Rep. Terry Canales may be reached at (512) 463-0426.
3.8% Rate Increase Goes Into Effect May 1, 2013
On Friday, Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman adopted a rate increase of 3.8% to the Basic Premium Rate for Title Insurance that will go into effect May 1, 2013. You may view the full updated rate chart here
Team members of the Edwards Abstract and Title Co. escrow division are gearing up to welcome over 500 guests during the 3rd Annual Texas Proud Customer Appreciation BBQ. They will assist at the event with set up, greeting guests and making sure everyone feels welcome! “The Customer Appreciation BBQ is truly a team effort as it involves all of the members of the Edwards Team and we all pitch in where needed. It’s all about our customers and the opportunity to thank them for their business and friendship over the years,” said Elva Jackson Garza who coordinates the BBQ. From the Edwards ownership group, members of the management team and all of the support teams, everyone does their part during the event. The Palmer Pavilion will be bustling with activity on Thursday, March 21 starting at 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Members of the Edwards Escrow Division are ready for the big day! Pictured are Marty; Mariana; Mary; Norma; Mary; Grace; Marilyn and Diana with DD Hoffman. (not pictured is Tina)
Over 200 chamber members, city and school officials, ECISD principals and administrators attended the Public Affairs Luncheon that was held on March 6. Edwards’ own, Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President & Marketing Manager was the mistress of ceremonies. As a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee, Elva has served in this capacity since the inception of the Public Affairs Luncheon in 2006. Edwards Abstract and Title Co. is actively involved in the programs, services and events that are held in the community.
Members of the Edwards Team and guest Sylvia Ann Mareli are pictured with Letty Gonzalez, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board, Dina Araguz , presented Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro with a special plaque acknowledging their recognition as 5-A State Champs at the 3rd Annual Mexican American School Board Association Mariachi State Championship in San Antonio! They are under the direction of Mr. Abel Acuna.
Edinburg Chamber hosts Public Affairs Luncheon featuring E.C.I.S.D. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rene Gutierrez
Edinburg – On Wednesday March 6th, 2013 from 11:30 am-1:00 pm, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (ECOC) Public Affairs Committee, headed by Elva Jackson Garza (Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair – Edwards Abstract and Title Co.), Jacob De Leon (ECOC Director- Memorial Funeral Home) and Letty Gonzalez (ECOC- President) present a Public Affairs Luncheon featuring E.C.I.S.D. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rene Gutierrez.
Dr. René Gutiérrez has served as Superintendent of Schools for the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District since June 2009.
Dr. Gutiérrez attended schools in Mexico at an early age then immigrated to McAllen, Texas where he graduated from McAllen High School. He has an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Texas Southmost College at Brownsville; a Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) from Pan American at Brownsville; and a Master of Education Degree from the University of Texas-Pan American. He received a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas-Pan American. His doctoral dissertation is entitled: Factors Contributing to the Academic Achievement of Mexican-Origin Immigrant High School Students.
Under Dr. Gutiérrez’s leadership, Edinburg CISD became a Texas Education Agency “Recognized School District.” As superintendent, Dr. Gutiérrez is responsible for 43 schools. One of those schools, the Vision Academy of Excellence, was started by Dr. Gutiérrez and has been successful in recovering and graduating 350 dropouts in 2½ years. Dr. Gutiérrez has built on the district’s “Legacy of Excellence” by providing a positive learning environment in every school that promotes high academic achievement and college readiness opportunities for all students. This August under Dr. Gutiérrez’s leadership, the district was awarded two Early College High School programs by the Texas Education Agency to serve first-generation Hispanic high school students who might not otherwise go to college. This summer, he also set up “Innovate@ecisd.us” – an Educator Technology Conference designed to provide 1,000 of the district’s teachers with innovative teaching and learning through technology with strategies and resources.
Dr. Gutiérrez oversaw a $112 million construction Bond initiative that built four elementary schools, two middle schools, a new high school, and three high school Performing Arts Centers on time and under budget. Dr. Gutiérrez was named the South Texas Region One Superintendent of the Year for 2012 and was also recognized as one of the top five superintendents in Texas for 2012. He is a recipient of the Educational Leadership Award from the University Council for Educational Administration and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Equity Center of Texas.
The Public Affairs Luncheons are an initiative introduced in 2006, and since then have featured popular topics with speakers that cover important legislative and community issues. Cost to attend the luncheon is $12 per person or $125 for a table of 8, and includes a hot lunch, beverage and dessert. The luncheon will take place at The Echo Hotel and Conference Center located on 1903 South Closner in Edinburg.
The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Rosie’s Flower Shop and Memorial Funeral Home for their generous sponsorship. For more information on this event or to make a reservation please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956-383-4974.
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. was represented at the City of Edinburg State of the City Address held on Wednesday, February 20 at the Edinburg Auditorium. The auditorium was filled with members of the business community, civic, county and state leaders. The event is hosted in cooperation with the City of Edinburg, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Mayor Richard Garcia addressed the citizens of Edinburg and outlined the city’s success in attracting new business and industry. He also lauded the city’s unemployment rate as the lowest since 2009 that is currently 6.9%. “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Mayor Garcia is the major contributor to the city’s continued growth and improvement of the quality of life. The Mayor recognized the current city council members for their leadership and for working as one for the benefit of the citizens of Edinburg. Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer Byron Jay Lewis; Mike Overly, President of the Hidalgo County Division; Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President and Marketing Manager; Diana S. Kaufold, Vice President & Edinburg Branch Manager; Norma Cano, Sr. Escrow Officer (Edinburg); Marilyn De Luna, CESA & Sr. Escrow Officer (McAllen) and Mary A. Barrientos, Mission Branch Manager & Sr. Escrow Officer attended on behalf of Edwards Abstract and Title Co.
The Hidalgo County Title Plant Team met recently for their bi-monthly meeting that is held to enhance internal operations, share industry news and events as well as to outline and prepare for upcoming projects. The Title Plant Operations in Hidalgo County is headed by Rene Correa. He is assisted by Angie Villarreal and Irma Cavazos. These three individuals share almost 100 years of experience as they lead a 13 member operation.
The title plant managers, examiners, down date clerks, order entry, commitment typist and abstractor gathered at the Edwards Training Center.
Pictured are: (sitting) Nellie Cantu; Lydia Gamez; Nadine Avendano and Janet Hinojosa. Back row: Norma Limas; Lisa Perkins; Irma Cavazos; Rene Correa; Monica Gonzalez; Angie Villarreal; Clay Sanchez and Joe Montalvo. Not pictured is Veronica Dillon.
Special thanks to the Title Plant Teams in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties for cranking out those commitments. It all starts with you!!
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. is represented at the Capital in Austin today by Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Byron Jay Lewis
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. is represented at the Capital in Austin today by Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Byron Jay Lewis. Mr. Lewis serves on the board of directors for the Texas Land Title Association and the organization is at the Capital meeting with legislators regarding the 2013 legislative agenda. The Texas Land Title Association represents title insurance agents across the State of Texas and lobbies on behalf of the title insurance industry and the rights of home owners from the Rio Grande Valley to the Panhandle.
Pictured are several representatives of national title insurance underwriters, independent agents and TLTA staff. Byron Jay Lewis stands on the right side of the photograph, second from the right on the second row (light blue shirt with Edwards Abstract and Title Co. logo).
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. has scheduled a seminar on the topic of Wills, Probates and Affidavits of Heirships
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. has scheduled a seminar on the topic of Wills, Probates and Affidavits of Heirships. Please read the marketing flier below for all of the details. The seminar is offered as a service of Edwards Abstract and Title Co. and there is no cost to attend. (Attendees will not earn MCE credit).
Edinburg’s leaders are reporting positive trends on the jobs front, with the Texas Workforce Commission showing Edinburg posted a 6.7 percent unemployment rate in December 2012, the second-best showing among the Valley’s major cities for that month. Featured, from left: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Rachel Borchard, Canales’ mother; Precinct 4 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Mayor Pro Tem Agustín “Gus” García; and Councilmember J.R. Betancourt.
Photograph by MARK MONTEMAYOR / www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com
Edinburg posted a 6.7 percent unemployment rate in December 2012, the second-best showing among the Valley’s major cities for that month, helping keep the annual unemployment rate for Edinburg for 2012 at 7.76 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.
The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.
The December unemployment rate also was the best showing for that month since December 2009, when it was reported also at 6.7 percent by the Texas Workforce Commission.
The Texas Workforce Commission is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas
Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate of 7.76 percent was the best for the city since 2009, when it registered at 6.8 percent.
Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said 2013 promises to continue bringing positive economic news for the city.
“We have several companies with which we are negotiating which are going to bring us a large number of jobs and expansions of existing businesses,” the mayor noted, but explained that the city is not yet at liberty to reveal the details of those discussions.
What can be revealed are some of scheduled openings in 2013 for numerous employers, ranging from: the Cinemark Movie Bistro, which will help anchor more economic development along Trenton Road in southwest Edinburg; another projected expansion of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which just last summer added 90,000-square-feet; and the much anticipated opening of the $180 million Santana Textiles denim manufacturing complex in north Edinburg, which will boast 800 jobs.
“Certainly, we have had announcements by the new power plant and what that will bring a lot of new jobs,” García added, referring to the $650 million, 700-megatt electricity generating facility, whose location in Edinburg will soon be announced, that will create 500 construction jobs and provide power to 350,000 homes.
“Job creation, that’s what the EEDC is all about, that’s what we are here doing,” the mayor said. “All these things that are happening combined in Edinburg are putting us where we are. The good news is that with all the recent announcements, it’s only going to get better.”
The December unemployment rate of 6.7 percent was the second-best showing for Edinburg since the previous month, which came in at 6.6 percent in November.
Only McAllen, with a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, had a better month for jobs in December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
The unemployment rates in December for the other major cities in the Valley featured Harlingen (8.1 percent), Mission (8.6 percent), Pharr (8.6 percent), Brownsville (10.4 percent), and Weslaco (10.5 percent).
All communities combined in Hidalgo County resulted in a 10.3 percent unemployment rate.
The December unemployment rates for all Texas cities, metropolitan regions, and counties were released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday, January 18.
On the local jobs front, Edinburg’s 6.7 percent unemployment rate for December 2012 compared favorably with November (6.6 percent), October (7.3 percent), September (7.4 percent), August (8.6 percent), July (9.2 percent), June (8.8 percent), May (7.8 percent); April (7.2 percent); March (7.7 percent); February (7.7 percent); and January (8.2 percent).
For December, there were 32,760 residents employed in Edinburg, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working and actively seeking work.
The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at:
www.tracer2.com/cgi/ dataanalysis/AreaSelection. asp?tableName=Labforce
The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Dr. Glenn Martínez as Vice-President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, Felipe García, and Jaime A. Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to:www.EdbgCityLimits.com
By DAVID A. DÍAZ