Census bureau undercounted Presidio, council says
By ELVIRA HERMOSILLO
PRESIDIO – City officials have determined that the 2010 Census undercounted the Presidio population by more than 500 residents, which could mean significant losses in state and federal funding. They met last Thursday to discuss the submission of a more accurate estimate.
City consultant Roger Carlisle explained that Texas demographers calculated the population by counting the number of water connections and multiplying that number by three – supposing that there are three people per connection.
Carlisle argues that, “In essence we could be saying 6 or 8 or 9” persons per connection in the border community.
Demographers has the right to make these good faith estimates but the City Council argues that the calculation is significantly less. The 2010 census states that Presidio has a population of 4,426 when in reality “we’re over 5,000 easy,” said Carlisle.
The reason this misrepresentation is so controversial is because cities receive funding according to their size. “More people means more money for schools, roads, etcetera,” Mayor Lorenzo Hernandez said.
Carlisle said the city made its own good faith estimate based upon utility connections and will be filing a dispute to represent the city’s population more accurately.
Also of importance on the agenda was the approval of a special election to be held November 6 to vote for or against terminating the Development Corporation of Presidio (DCOP) and turn it into a municipal development district. The change requires voter approval because development districts are financed through by a portion of the retail sales tax already being collected by DCOP.
“The main thing we want people to know is that this [change] won’t make taxes go up,” said DCOP director Brad Newton. He said the main difference is that the new district would expand to collect sales tax from a half mile to a mile outside the city limits.
Other topics of discussion included a proposal from Mexican Consulate Hector Acosta to create a Mexican Cultural Center and a Plaza Mexico. Acosta requested the city’s support with labor to build the center and land for the Plaza.
“This will be a way to expand our culture,” said Acosta.
Acosta’s plans are still at the beginning stages therefore he agreed to return in the future with a more developed presentation.
In other city business, Aureliano Ramirez requested $46,000 from DCOP to make improvements to the Presidio Drag Race Facility. Ramirez said he believes there is potential to attract automotive tourists drag races but currently the facility is inadequate for safe use.
“The people who come to the drag races will bring revenue through restaurants, hotels, and gas,” said Ramirez. “It’s just to benefit the people of Presidio.”
Unfortunately, the request was denied due to legal boundaries. According to code, a company such as DCOP cannot benefit from projects. Currently there is no one who can undertake the project.