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Photos of Progreso employees cutting grass by mayor's business raise questions

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A picture showing Progreso city employees cutting the grass near the mayor's business raised questions Friday morning. The mayor said the images don't paint a complete picture.

The photos shared with CHANNEL 5 NEWS show two men cutting the grass on the northeast corner of 281 and Mile 3 Road in Progreso. Mayor Gerardo Alanis has his restaurant, Jerry's Restaurant, on that corner lot.

A white truck with the city's logo was parked outside the restaurant around 9:30 a.m., according to a driver who passed by the area. A carry-on trailer full of clippings was hitched to the truck.

Mayor Gerardo Alanis acknowledged he knows it led some to ask if tax payer money was used for a private sector job. "That’s not true," he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS visited the site on Friday. Grass clippings were observed near the Mile 3 Road curb. Alanis said, "These people misunderstand always. The thing is that the municipal employees always cut the grass on the side of the road, because that’s the DOT [Department of Transportation]."

Alanis said the employees maintain the grassy areas near busy roads. "It was close to the road. You can see there’s images of my guys cutting the grass by the side of the road. Not only on 1015, also on the entrance to Progreso," Alanis said.

Overgrown grass was observed Friday across the restaurant, also along Mile 3 Road. There was no indication that anyone had cut it that day. Alanis said employees will cut the grass at another time.

Near the restaurant's western wall, there was a grass that appeared to have been cut that morning. The images shared with CHANNEL 5 NEWS also showed one of the men holding a lawn cutting instrument close to the same part of the building.

"Actually, my brother-in-law was cutting my grass from the inside," Alanis said.

"So, someone else was also cutting the grass at the same time?" asked the reporter. "Yeah, I pay for maintenance for my business, also in my house," Alanis said.

Records for private sector transactions are not subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

When asked if he might release the receipt, Alanis said he paid his brother-in-law in cash and no receipt existed.

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