Wetlands Controversy Around Unpaid Bills
The controversy surrounding the wetlands continues to surface.
Our Lauren Kendrick spoke with a resident who is concerned about the project.
She has more in this story.
"In addition to not wanting the wetlands to be touched, we hear from a concerned citizen about the large amount of money not yet paid to the city by the developer
"Currently by my calculations, they're 2.8 million dollars behind in their lease payments."
Remy Salinas shows us the documents he acquired through an open records request showing the balance due with interest included. Without it is 2.1 million. He goes on to say he doesn't understand the reason why the city is continuing to do business with the company developing town center.
"It would be like me owing someone millions of dollars and then sitting down and asking them to do business with me."
City Councilman Roque Vela, Jr spoke with us about the issue of nonpayment.
"It hasn't been a secret that they're 2.1 million in the rear and the reason they're 2.1 in the rear. They're seven years into a 40 year lease so they've been 4 years current."
He says in good faith the city has been negotiating with the developers for three years. Salinas wonders why the city doesn't just start working with another company, to which Vela responds,
"For us to negotiate and let them essentially put that money in the infrastructure and then re renege, it would put a bad taste in their mouth and put a bad taste in our mouth."
Salinas also has an issue with the jobs that will be created with town center.
"Please, Laredo doesn't need retail jobs. We need industry."
Instead Salinas says people need jobs that have benefits so they can support their families.
"There's going to be hundreds of jobs that will create once it's finished, now we're talking about an 80 acres development."
Speaking of the 80 acre development, Salinas wants to know why they don't choose to only use 60 acres that way the wetland is touched or even turn the wetlands into a tourist area that people can go sightseeing. Vela says he would love to make a nature trail in the wetlands once town center is completed but for now,
"What I can tell you is the most that they can do is again take that three acre pond and re-locate it just to the east."
There is no estimation date for the completion of town center as of now.