Amendment 29 to Remain on Elsa Election Ballot
ELSA – A Hidalgo County judge ruled in favor of a measure scheduled to be up for vote in the city of Elsa.
The special election for Amendment 29 is set to happen on Monday. Voters will also decide whether to adopt other 34 separate amendments to the city charter.
But critics said the measure, which looks to give the Elsa city manager the power to appoint people to the board of the Elsa Housing Authority, violates state law.
Elsa Housing Authority attorney Marissa Carranza Hernandez argues state law gives the power to the mayor not the city manager.
“Our sense of urgency stems from the fact that any time we’re doing anything that is even remotely close to not following the law, we’re going to be scrutinized for it, and ultimately, it’s going to be our citizens, our residents that suffer,” she said.
State statutes indicate “the presiding officer of the governing body of a municipality shall appoint” people to run the housing authority.
Hernandez pointed to an attorney general opinion, which states only the mayor can make appointments for public housing commissioners.
But Elsa city attorney Gustavo Acevado said he interprets the AG opinion differently.
“I read it differently than she does. She obviously wants to read it in her favor, and I read it in favor of my clients,” he said.
Acevado said all the proposed amendments were recommended by a consultant the city hired to look over their charter. The charter has not been revised since the 80s.
“There was provision in the charter which weren’t even valid law anymore. They’d been overruled and there were a bunch of changes that needed to be made, and that’s the result. That’s why we’re having this charter amendment election,” he said.
The Elsa Housing Authority helps more than 200 families.
“We don’t want any issues down the road that would cause problems with our funding,” Hernandez said.
It’s a reason why she filed a temporary restraining order to stop the amendment from going to a vote. But the amendment couldn’t come off the ballot without scrapping the entire election. So, the judge ruled it will remain on the ballot.
“If it passes, then we agreed to go back to court and let the judge decide its validity,” Acevado said.
The election is set to take place on May 6.
If Amendment 29 passes, the city and housing authority of Elsa will meet in Judge Juan Partida’s court on May 8.
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