As Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez finishes his first term in office, he shares what appear to be some of the most pressing concerns to the County of Hidalgo. Close to two years of his administration have been beset by the effects of the Corona-19 virus. It appears that the effects of the pandemic may be equaled or surpassed by the effects the Delta variant. It is especially the very young who are at risk now. During the week of his interview, County statistics showed more than 100,000 residents infected with the virus, and deaths to date exceed 3,000. In a press conference, the judge flatly discounted any complaints that migrants at the U.S. – Mexican border were spreading the virus. That line has been touted by Republicans and their supporters, in particular the state’s Republican Lt. Governor. The judge credited Americans who refuse to follow the science and mask-up and get vaccinated as culpable for spread of the infectious virus.
In the past two years, 500-year storms in the Rio Grande Valley appear to be a naturally recurring phenomenon. Thus, building and drainage standards governing 100- year storms seem like an antiquated strategy. Stricter regulations governing storm water run-off have mitigated the damage, but long term, the change in climate may have a lot to say about whether these improvements will suffice. County voters have been supportive of several bond issues to finance drainage projects and the County is currently issuing about $85 million In drainage bonds.