By DAVID LOPEZ
According to the Cameron County Tax Assessor-Collector website, San Benito City Mayor Ben Gomez is delinquent on his property taxes for the 2019 year.
The deadline to pay property taxes was January 31. Gomez owes $408.15 to the City of San Benito, with the base amount due at $374.45 plus a penalty/interest of $33.70 as of March 11, 2020.
The charges bring up the question of whether Gomez can legitimately serve as Mayor and continue as a mayoral candidate.
A City of San Benito charter on the eligibility requirements for City candidates states that each candidate shall have paid all taxes due to the City [Section 3.02 (b)].
The eligibility requirements further state that the Mayor and each Commissioner shall meet the conditions of Section 3.02 (b) while in office.
However, according to the Texas Election Code, “[The] City cannot disqualify a candidate for failure to pay property taxes,” as that is not a qualification established by the Texas Election Code 141.001.
Despite multiple calls and inquiries, City of San Benito attorney Mike Sossi has yet to respond.
During an interview with the Mayor, Gomez said he does not consider his debt to be “delinquent.”
“I know I owe this year, but I don’t consider them delinquent. I consider them outstanding,” Gomez said.
Gomez assured that he would pay his taxes due before April.
“Why should that interfere with somebody who is hardworking, poor, and disadvantaged? And most of our people are like that. So I’m representing everybody,” he said.
Gomez explained that he does not reside in the property in question, which is under his and his wife’s name.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the March 13 –19, 2020 issue of the NEWS.