2019-01-09 / Front Page

City kicking in $160,000 for emergency room

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Staff Writer


PARTNER FRED BALLARD AND OWNER JOE WETEGROVE learned Tuesday the Las Majadas Ranch property will be annexed by the City of Raymondville at a Tuesday night meeting. (Photo by Allen Essex) PARTNER FRED BALLARD AND OWNER JOE WETEGROVE learned Tuesday the Las Majadas Ranch property will be annexed by the City of Raymondville at a Tuesday night meeting. (Photo by Allen Essex) Raymondville City Commission members on Tuesday approved on first reading up to a $200,000 maximum city investment in a free-standing emergency room. It will be located at 800 FM 3168, near the Raymondville Rural Technology Center, the new Tractor Supply Co. store and Raymondville schools complex.

The $5 million building to be built by South Texas Health System will have $2.7 million in medical technology and equipment and have four medical professionals assisted by 21 other workers, for a total of 25 full-time jobs.

The measure passed Tuesday is required by state law if more than $10,000 of the city’s Economic Development Funding is used to bring in a new business that creates jobs.

After the meeting, City Manager Eleazar “Yogi” Garcia said the city is giving the company land valued at $60,000 in order to provide the emergency medical services. If the business is still operating at the end of one year, the city’s EDC will give the company a $100,000 cash contribution. The total $160,000 city investment fits within the $200,000 upper limit of assistance set by the City Commission.

Also approved was a voluntary annexation of approximately 500 acres at Las Majadas Ranch, owned by the Wetegrove Family and other partners.

The La Jarra Ranch development already includes an adult daycare center, a dementia/

Alzheimer’s care unit, a jail diversion facility where mentally ill persons on medication can avoid incarceration in the county jail (used by Cameron and Willacy County patients). La Jarra Ranch will soon have “La Jarra Academy,” a day school for adults with special needs, said Fred Ballard, a partner in the projects.

The academy may be up and running as soon as a month from now, he said. In 2020, La Jarra management hopes to have 20 rooms available so the academy can have a residential program with up to two clients to each room, Ballard said. He and owner Joe Wetegrove said they plan to secure financing to pay the costs of patients through a non-profit organization that will seek state grants.

City commissioners also learned that City Attorney William Wepfer called Friday to inform the city he has retired. Wepfer thanked the city for having a good working relationship for many years, the city manager said.

Garcia explained the process to seek services of a qualified local attorney and gave a summary of the many duties, including acting as prosecutor in Municipal Court, monitoring City Commission and EDC meetings and providing advice to elected officials and the city manager.

Commissioners authorized Garcia to start a search for a new city attorney. Garcia said he hopes to have the position filled by February.

Public Works Director Joel Soto said the street repaving project has been delayed because of the need for surveying services but work will be done to preserve streets that have had old pavement removed.

EDC Coordinator David Gomez said the new Tractor Supply Co. store opened last weekend and will have a grand opening Jan 17- 19, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Jan. 19.

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