By TAMARA LONGORIA
Special to the NEWS
The City of San Benito has hired Parker McCollough to serve as a legislative consultant during the upcoming legislative session.
McCollough served in the State Legislature from 1989 to 1993.
The next legislative session in Texas is to take place on January 8, 2019. According to a press release sent to the News, McCollough has “…30 years’ experience as a legislator and a leader in utility and energy sectors as well as water planning, [and] state budget processes and tax policy.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ordered the City to upgrade its sewer system or face heavy fines. The City is working with TCEQ to repair its sewer system by 2023 and is also looking to fund the estimated $8.5 million project.
City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said, in a press release, that, “The City has dealings with several state agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, that we need to work with them on. There are several potential legislative matters that will involve the City and our future growth and development, where working with a legislative consultant is valuable.”
McCollough is to receive $4,000 plus expenses per month with an annual cap at $48,000. The budget for McCollough’s salary is to come from the City’s unrestricted reserves.
De La Rosa further said that McCollough “understands the legislative process and he has strong relationships with state-wide officials in the Senate and House as well as legislative staffs.”
He also said that “There is proposed legislation that would severely restrict the authority of municipalities and increase the reach of state government that surfaced last session, and will surely do so again.”
He fears that a larger government entity will have too much influence on local government and said that, “…we need to have our voices heard… working with a legislative consultant is the best method to make that happen.”
In essence, McCollough will serve as a consultant who will work to make sure the City of San Benito is well represented in Austin, as well as making sure that bills proposed to the State Legislator benefit the community.
McCollough served in the State Legislature from 1989 to 1993 and will begin his tenure with the city in January of the coming year.