Property taxes, streets hot topics in San Juan mayoral race

With early voting now wrapped up and Election Day on Saturday, San Juan residents have their eyes on three races for the city of San Juan.

Mayor Mario Garza is seeking reelection and is being challenged by former commissioners Pete Garcia and Jesse Ramirez.

Garza said he hopes voters will see his contributions to the city, highlighted by the construction of a new city hall, and give him an opportunity to expand on his ideas for the city.

He said that if reelected, he will focus on lowering property taxes for San Juan residents.

“I will always support lowering property taxes,” Garza said. “It’s time that we put money back into our citizens’ pockets, especially with the hardships that we had this past year with the pandemic. It’s time for me and the administration to step up and lower property taxes.”

The mayor also said that he wants to continue to bring commerce to the city and improve the streets.

“I’m proud that we’re bringing in a lot of new businesses,” Garza said. “Our citizens are very excited. They’re telling me that they’re seeing the difference in the community. Finally our community is moving forward under this leadership. I encourage everyone to come by and vote.”

Former Commissioner Pete Garcia shared Garza’s focus on street improvements and bringing new business to the city. He referred to his time on the city commission in the hopes of continuing what he was able to accomplish during his term.

“We had a lot of progress done. We will continue that progress,” Garcia said. “I’ll make sure that (citizens) get that good city service, and make sure we continue paving city streets.”

He said that he would like to make city streets safer by installing speed bumps and cleaning up garbage.

“They’re vote is going to count,” Garcia said. “It’s going to make a difference in our city.”

Commissioner Jesus “Jesse” Ramirez did not respond to calls requesting comment Wednesday, but has previously shared his concerns about city employment, taxes and water rates.

In January, Ramirez told The Monitor, “There’s been a lot of concern that there’s been a lot of political hires recently in the past year. I’ve heard that concern from a lot of employees, so I’m thinking that we need to make some changes in the way that the hiring process is done here in the city.”

He was critical about the high water rates and taxes in the city, explaining that constituents brought those concerns to his attention and his plans to address them if elected.

“My heart is with the city, and I just want to continue to serve in a different capacity as the mayor of our great city,” Ramirez added.

Saturday’s election also features races for Place 2 and Place 3 city commissioners.

Place 2 incumbent Ernesto “Neto” Guajardo is seeking reelection, but is being challenged by Roman C. Flores, Rafael Quintanilla and Laura A. Martinez.

San Juan residents will see a new face in the Place 3 seat with Ramirez seeking the mayoral post. Hoping to fill Ramirez’s former seat are Nickie M. Ybarra, Eduardo J Alaniz, Maria Adina Santillan, Erica Lee Lopez and Genovevo Quintanilla.

EARLY VOTING

With early voting concluding on Tuesday, voters will have one last opportunity to cast their vote in six different elections throughout Hidalgo County.

As of Tuesday evening, a total of 8,871 votes have been cast in elections for the city of San Juan, and the McAllen, Sharyland and Progreso school districts, according to the Hidalgo County Elections Department, which is administering the elections.

There were a total of 8,756 in-person ballots cast and 115 mail-in ballots cast for the upcoming elections.


fjimenez@themonitor.com