By JACOB LOPEZ
During Tuesday’s San Benito City Commission, officials discussed action on a Memorandum of Agreement between the city and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The commission OK’d the agreement in an effort to protect surface waters from illegal dumping. Assistant City Manager Arturo Rodriguez said that, at a future meeting, the location and placement of signage throughout the city will be decided in a collaborative effort with TCEQ and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“We have an opportunity for signage to be placed at different locations,” said Rodriguez during the meeting.
“If we post the signage that is required, it makes it easier for us to go back and prosecute anyone …” caught illegally dumping in the waters around San Benito, according to Rodriguez.
The initial expense for such signage would be covered by TxDOT while the city will be responsible for continued maintenance fees.
“I don’t see why we would not approve…” said Mayor Celeste Sanchez.
The commission then voted to call a meeting with representatives of State Representative Eddie Lucio III and TCEQ to discuss the number of signs to be placed and their specific locations.
“At this point, we have not been approved for any specific location,” explained City Manager Manuel Lara in a phone interview.
Sanchez said, “We’re going to be meeting with the representative to see where the strategic locations are to place those signs.”
“Once those signs are placed, anyone that gets caught dumping, will be fined,” said Sanchez, reiterating the statements by Rodriguez about prosecuting anyone caught dumping. In that sense, it could be likened to a speed limit sign.
When asked if dumping was a problem with the resaca, Lara replied, “No … I think it looks beautiful.”
The signage would simply serve as a way to encourage citizens to continue to maintain the surface waters, allowing for easier enforcement of penalties for any illegal dumping.
Sanchez wasn’t aware of specifics with regard to the selection of locations are chosen, but she did confirm speaking to San Benito Code Enforcement officers regarding where any potential problems may be. The mayor explained that it is important that signs are placed where they can be seen, but it is also important that they are in areas that may be more at risk, such as lower-traffic parts of the city.
Meanwhile, city officials are currently scheduling a meeting with Lucio’s representatives as well as with TCEQ.