By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
The race for the Rio Hondo mayoral seat is set for Saturday, May 11, with early voting slated from April 29 through May 7. Getting ready to face off are challenger and current Pl. 1 City Commissioner Gustavo “Gus” Olivares and incumbent Mayor Alonzo Garza Sr.
Olivares is currently serving his second term on the city commission and has worked with the county for 15 years. He currently works as the intern director for the Environmental Health Program.
“Our town is moving forward,” said Olivares. “I believe that our town is moving forward in a very positive way, but I believe that me as mayor, I would be able to work together with county and state.”
According to Olivares, he believes that he could provide a closer working relationship with the county and the state by providing more representation – this in hopes of securing additional funding to the city to alleviate what he believes is a tax-burdened community.
“I believe that our city changes function on taxes,” Olivares said. “We’ve got to bring in some other type of funding to alleviate the taxes that our taxpayers are paying. We can’t raise our water rates. We can’t raise our taxes anymore. We need to bring in some other type of funding to make Rio Hondo grow. I’m going to do my best to communicate at the county and state level to bring in more funding somehow, one way or another.”
Olivares said that given his position with the county, as well as serving as president of the Rio Hondo Pony League, he will bring leadership experience to the citizens of Rio Hondo.
“To me, representation in the town, and communication with the county and state level (are most important),” said Olivares.
Although it has been recently reported that Mayor Garza will not actively seek reelection due to personal reasons but remains on the ballot due to his withdrawal occurring after the March 4 deadline, a City of Rio Hondo employee could not verify as much.
“The mayor was called out of town on a family emergency, and we can’t give out his number and contact him unless the city is burning down,” said the employee, who identified herself as Linda but did not reveal her last name. “I don’t have one,” Linda said when asked for her last name.