McAllen mayor hopeful city will be reimbursed for funds spent on humanitarian effort

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POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 5:40pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 11, 2014 - 9:01am

The City of McAllen is responding to the influx of undocumented immigrants with a humanitarian relief effort, but it comes at a hefty price.

"McAllen is happy to do this effort, and we will continue to do so," said Mayor Jim Darling. "But at the same token, I don't think it's fair for our tax payers to bear that burden."

Mayor Darling says that burden belongs to the federal government. He is optimistic that the money will come from President Obama's $3.7 billion funding proposal to Congress.

"We're trying to go through that budget and see where there's a particular line item that we could seek funding from that standpoint."

As of June 26th, the city has spent $71,000 on humanitarian relief efforts and projects that it will cost more than $600,000 through the end of the year.

The general fund budget for the City of McAllen is just over $100 million. In comparison, $600,000 isn't a significant amount, but Mayor Darling expects to be reimbursed for the money spent.

"We didn't approach this lightly, we know it's public tax payers monies, and so we're working hard to make sure we get reimbursed and it's not taking it lightly at all," said Darling.  "You just can't call up the U.S. Treasury and say 'write a check to the City of McAllen,' so I think that's what we're facing is making sure we find the right bucket where that money is gonna come from."

Mayor Darling respects Obama's decision not to come to the Valley during his time in Texas, but sees a silver lining in that outcome.

"If a president does come down, it's a little disruptive to operate and it costs local governments about $25,000 for a presidential visit because of security issues and all that."

Mayor Darling expressed his gratitude to Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities and says he is thankful for their efforts at the Sacred Heart Church immigrant welcome center.

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