It’s critical for members of the City Council to look before they leap into approving the $25,000 Laredo Housing Authority/City of Laredo assessment of the old Mercy Hospital building in the Heights, the ordinance-defying health and safety debacle perpetrated by a private citizen who wants the City to solve his problems.
Approving the September 5 agenda item for the assessment is another hop down property owner Chendo Carranco’s elusive rabbit trail, an 18-year wend down irresponsible property ownership that has turned the old hospital into a substandard building and an eyesore, not only for the neighborhood that surrounds it, but for the entire City.
Who would throw $25,000 or more into a blighted hazard without first looking at it? (Answer implied.)
Council members should take a tour. The old hospital is as open to them as it is to the vandals who have started three fires there since August 27, 2017.
Or they could ask for the key if they don’t want to climb through any of the hundreds of broken windows. They owe it to the taxpayers to look at the place before tossing $25,000 at the problem.
Taxpayers who believe their money has better use than trying to bail out a private property owner who has flagrantly defied building and code enforcement ordinances for 18 years, need to communicate their preferences to all City Council members and the Mayor.
Mr. Carranco has skated through non-enforcement for two decades while law-abiding citizens obey ordinances or face enforcement and fines. His first citation was issued a month ago.
That $25,000 belongs to the taxpayers, as does the wish-upon-a-star federal money the City hopes will turn the place into affordable housing. A gravy train of federal dough could transform the filthy, looted, degraded hospital into affordable housing, but it will be anything but affordable.
In Mr. Carranco’s world, at rainbow’s end the City will take the property off his hands with a pot of gold and reward him for creating a health and safety nuisance that will require millions of dollars for asbestos abatement, environmental remediation, infrastructure, and the reconfiguration of space.
Contact information – Call, Text and/or email
Mayor Pete Saenz mayorsaenz@ci,laredo.tx.us (956) 754-0353
District I Rudy Gonzlaez email@example.com (956) 334-8793
District II Vidal Rodriguez firstname.lastname@example.org (956) 333-6438
District III Alex Perez email@example.com (956) 236-9498
District IV Albert Torres firstname.lastname@example.org (956) 774-5845
District V Nelly Vielma email@example.com (956) 333-7100
District VI Charlie San Miguel Prefers text (956) 324-5678
District VII George Altgelt firstname.lastname@example.org (956) 645-2231
District VIII Roberto Balli email@example.com (956) 701-0114