Thursday, December 14, 2006

Events for 12-14-2006

Doctors hospital at renaissance Sorry for the lousy pics.

Today was a pretty interesting day. We started off by going to the ground breaking ceremony at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. The Doctors Hospital is adding 3 new buildings with different specialties across from their current hospital. This is the first time I've seen J.D. Salinas, our new County Judge, since the primaries. I know where he works, I just haven't had the time, nor made the effort to go visit. After the groundbreaking, Rep. Peña was interviewed by Vanessa Mares from KURV Radio over his recent "Free Flow of Information" bill that would protect reporters from prosecution for not revealing their sources, except in some situations.

Vanessa Mares from KURV Radio

Afterwards, I accompanied Rep. Peña and the other Reps to the Cornerstone Grill up the street. This was one of the rare occasions in which Kino Flores, Veronica Gonzalez, Mando Martinez, and Aaron Peña get together. They seemed to have a good time chatting over lunch. As for me, I got to meet other staffers. That, to me, was an invaluable experience.

RMA Meeting

After work, I attended the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority meeting at the Mission City Hall. Once again, I got to see J.D. Salinas. He briefly spoke to the board.

The RMA meeting was pretty interesting. I learned about TIR Zones. These are Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones. Essentially, these are zones that cities or counties can create to encourage development. What happens in these zones is that the tax base is frozen at their value when the TIRZ is created. Any incremental tax revenue from the increased value of the developed area is paid to the TIRZ. The reason that this is done is because local governments don't have to make improvements out of general revenue. Any developer interested would have to put up the money for infrastructure improvements. They would then be reimbursed for their improvements from tax revenue in excess of the frozen tax base. This essentially eliminates the upfront cost to local governments and passes the risk to private developers. If a city or county decides to chip in some money for improvements to the TiRZ, they get their money back as well. This is a really creative way of paying for infrastructure improvements without using money from a local government's general fund.

The RMA discussed other matters, but this was the most interesting.

I had a strange encounter with David Diaz. I offered to help the RMA set up their website at no charge, except for my actual hosting costs. will host for a couple dollars a month. He seemed to think it would be a big story. I just thought that $3,000 for a website would be a ripoff. That was a lowball estimate, it could go as high as $5,000. To me, that's ridiculous. With the right CMS, I could set them up on a site that their secretary could easily run. They'll be sending out an RFQ on the issue.

No comments: