The Board of Commissioners of the City of Pharr met for a regular meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020, and considered an agenda that included the following highlights:

Senator Lucio Discusses COVID-19 with Commission
“I am proud to join with you in putting our community first and applaud your leadership and that of the Pharr City Commission for your proactive response to the seriousness of COVID-19 (coronavirus),” said Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. “Our state leaders, including myself, have been working around the clock with the Governor, the President, and our state health leaders to ensure that our state and our country are preparing as is necessary,” he continued. “We are all worried about the impact this will have on our community and economy, but I know that by working together and heeding the warnings and taking the necessary steps to stay safe, we will get through this,” added Lucio.

 City and Pharr Area School Districts Announce COVID-19 Plans and Mitigation Measures

Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. announced the city’s collaboration and plan of action with local school districts in preparation for COVID-19 (coronavirus). Leaders from school districts throughout Pharr including Xavier Salinas, Superintendent of Hidalgo ISD, Dr. Narcisco Garcia, Superintendent of Vanguard Academy and Jorge Palacios, PSJA ISD School Board President addressed the commission. Mayor Hernandez also announced that the city is working closely with Valley View ISD and IDEA Public Schools.

“We know that the school districts are already taking proactive measures to limit the contact among students which would accelerate the spread of the virus,” Hernandez said. “We are very appreciative that you all have the foresight to extend the amount of time that students will be out and also for agreeing with the City of Pharr in how we are approaching this very serious health issue,” he added. “The City of Pharr in collaboration with the five school districts will be extending the amount of time that children will not be in school for the next two weeks and if it is necessary to do so to minimize the spread of the virus, we will extend for more time as needed,” Hernandez continued. “No child will attend school in the City of Pharr until this is under control and we thank each of our school partners for working together with us as we aim to protect our students and our citizens,” he stated. “Education is a priority and the City of Pharr will work with all our school districts to help provided needed resources to ensure the success of our students,” he said.

 Xavier Salinas, Superintendent of Hidalgo ISD stated, “I just want to say thank you, mayor and commissioners, for your foresight and working with us to make our kids and communities safer.”

“Thank you so much for partnering with Vanguard Academy,” stated Dr. Narcisco Garcia, Superintendent of Vanguard Academy. “As of this morning, we have ordered more hotspots and tablets, so that we can be prepared and ensure that every student has a device, should we need to further extend the time our students remain learning from home,” added. Garcia.

“On behalf of PSJA ISD, we thank you, Mayor and Commissioners, for what you’ve done,” said Jorge Palacios, PSJA ISD School Board President. “We have been working on a plan to make sure that we have the necessary tools for our students to be successful in case something like this did occur and we know that the city is just as concerned and focused on helping us remain safe, secure, and prepared,” continued Palacios.

“Another priority we have worked on is making sure that our students will still have access to meals so that no child will go without meals during this time and I thank each of you in your respective districts for working to make this a priority,” said Hernandez. “The city will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information and developments become available,” he added. 

Commission Approves Guidelines and Framework for Neighborhood Empowerment Zone/Business Improvement District

The Pharr City Commission approved an Ordinance setting guidelines and framework for Neighborhood Empowerment Zone/Business Improvement District 2020-01.

Pharr Ratifies Resolution Declaring a Disaster and Public Health Emergency Amid COVID-19

Mayor Hernandez and City Commissioners ratified a Resolution declaring a disaster and public health emergency in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Pursuant to Section 418.108(d) of the Government Code, this declaration activates the city emergency management plan. Pursuant to Section 418.020(c) of the Government Code, this declaration authorizes the city to commandeer or use any private property, temporarily acquire, by lease or other means, sites required for temporary housing units or emergency shelters for evacuees, subject to compensation requirements. Pursuant to Section 122.006 of the Health and Safety Code, this declaration authorizes the City to take any actions necessary to promote health and suppress disease, including quarantine, and regulating hospitals, regulating ingress and egress from the City, and fining those who do not comply with the City’s rules. This Declaration of Disaster was made pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 and the Texas Government Code Section 418.108(a). 

City officials have been taking measures to mitigate the virus, including increasing community awareness providing information and methods for personal health and safety via social media and the City’s website. City leaders ensure the public that the City’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) plans are actively reviewed and updated to ensure that critical government services remain uninterrupted during this crisis.

As one of the measures set in place to assist residents during this disaster, the City of Pharr will not be shutting off water for non-payment during the duration of this crisis.

City officials urge and encourage all residents and families to remain vigilant, follow health and safety precautionary measures, and heed the advice of authorities to stay safe during this disaster. 

City of Pharr Postpones All City-Sponsored Events

After much consideration and understanding of the most recent federal government-mandated guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and Surgeon General, the Pharr City Commission has decided to postpone or reschedule public gatherings and will instead resort to conduct virtual-based city events instead of in-person where possible through May of 2020. In efforts to limit the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, the City of Pharr has elected to forgo our traditional mass gathering events. Events such as St, Patrick’s Day 5k, Easter-egg Hunt and our annual Hub Phestival have all been rescheduled, but they will return bigger and better once it is safe to do so.