Laguna Vista committee purchases charter


Fears of Brownsville’s land-march to Laguna Vista, and the prospect of becom­ing a land-locked community were reasons cited that vot­ers should adopt a proposed Home Rule Charter here on May 14.

“Part of the golf course (property) could be in Brownsville’s city limits if Home Rule doesn’t pass,” Committee Chairman Rudy Garcia told some 30 people at a Saturday morning public hearing.

The second in a series of three Home Rule Charter hearings prior to the public vote, the session was designed to enlighten voters on the pro­posed document. Some 30 residents gathered to hear the committee that led the cre­ation of the charter that would change the Town from a Type A General –law municipality to Home Rule government.

Home rule governance would allow the Town greater power to control its future expansion, implement a com­prehensive growth plan, give citizens power to petition, and provide a more organized sys­tem to appoint boards, com­mittees and commissions.

“Brownsville is aggres­sive…and is leapfrogging to­ward us,” said Charter Com­mittee member Paul Villas. “If we don’t annex the land where the new causeway (to South Padre Island) will like­ly be built, Brownsville will,” he said noting a previous at­tempt to do so. But, he added, the Town’s upgrade to Home Rule status is needed before it can expand its extraterrito­rial jurisdiction to protect the area.

Under General Law, the Town’s ETJ is now limited to one-half mile, and restricts annexation of property unless an adjoining property owner requests to be annexed. Home Rule provides a one mile ETJ buffer and the power to an­nex or disannex at will. If ap­proved, the Town will be al­lowed to annex 10 percent of its total acreage in a one-year period, and a maximum of 30 percent over three years.

Concern over the Town becoming land-locked as a result of Brownsville’s threat, would have long term and expensive consequences, committee members agreed. Brownsville’s tax rate is 3 ½ times greater than Laguna Vista’s 29 cents per $100 property valuation, it was noted.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of the Apr. 18 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.

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