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Officials Anticipate Revenue for Willacy Co Center Reopening

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RAYMONDVILLE - Willacy County residents said they hope reopening of a detention center in the city will help improve their lives.

Management and Training Corporation is seeking a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Willacy County Detention Center. It raises the possibility of new tax revenue coming in for the county.

Edward Rodriguez has lived in a rural section of Willacy County with his wife for 33 years. He said he thinks it is time for the county to fix up the roads around his home.

"We get quite a few people that get stuck. We've had school buses get stuck. Matter of fact, the day before yesterday, we pulled out a UPS truck that got stuck because when it rains, these roads get real bad," he said.

Rodriguez said Willacy County not only needs to pave a few roads and fill a few potholes, but it also needs policing in rural areas which may be prone to crime.

"Within about the last month or so, we're had quite a few houses that have been hit out here in the county during the day," he said.

Willacy County Sheriff's Larry Spence said he would like to have more patrols. County cutbacks as a result of the prison shutdown in 2015 led to his department cutting four jobs. He wants the jobs back.

"Once the money starts coming in, and hopefully it will, and hopefully it will be for a very long period of time, then we can look at things maybe benefiting the department, extra manpower, equipment that we haven't been able to get," he said.

Spence said his department is living off grants to enforce the law and even cleanup illegal dumpsites in the county. He said the much needed tax money will be a good thing for his department.

City officials said they're expecting significant tax revenue for the new prison.

Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said he anticipates the prison will bring in $300,000 in property tax money.

He said it will also bring in $90,000 to $100,000 in water and sewer revenue, as well as create new jobs in Raymondville.

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