Ferguson: poverty remains major issue in Presidio
March 2nd, 2017 under Top Stories
By DIANA AGUIRRE ARMENDARIZ
PRESIDIO – About 50 percent of Presidio inhabitants live in poverty, according to Mayor John Ferguson. One of his goals is to eradicate Presidio’s poverty problem, said Ferguson, who is seeking re-election in the City of Presidio’s May 6 general election.
“Presidio is a town forgotten by the state government, but I have in mind the creation of more infrastructures like the chili plant, the gas pipeline, the railroad, cattle inspectors and tourism,” Ferguson explained.
However, the question arises as to who has been responsible for this notorious backwardness since to this day. Most of Presidio’s streets are unpaved and the town lacks recreational centers such as cinemas, theaters or museums. In addition, the city has an expensive lifestyle taking into account the salary of employees of some establishments, while jobs at the federal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies and the Presidio Independent School District are the ones that offer a worthy pay.
“Teachers´ salaries are good, because the school district receives millions of dollars from the federal government for bilingual programs,” said Ferguson.
The mayor said that the city council has the economic means to overcome the streak of poverty that Presidio has suffered for decades but they don´t have the necessary funds to invest in the production of more jobs.
“We have a lot of expenses on repairs and maintenance work on the pool, the baseball field, the PAC, the library, the fire department and the police department,” Ferguson said. The City of Presidio had a total income last year of $3,607,350, earmarking $100,000 per month for the distribution of payment to its workers, which is composed of 45 full-time employees and 9 part-time employees. Ferguson says he is taking firm but slow steps in his most important goal, that of “creating better jobs.” It is estimated that the federal government will provide $250,000 in 2017 for a “specific” subsidy to the city. At the moment, the city is working on a sidewalk construction project near Lucy Rede Franco Middle School.
“The government money can go to either an ambulance or drainage repairs, but those funds already have a specific purpose,” he said.
In 2013, Presidio generated a debt of $250,000, which has not yet been paid in full.
“We are paying, little by little, constructions that have been completed and we are getting out of debt to improve the quality of life of the community. A clear example of this is that I support the gas pipeline, because for people who want to work we need to do everything we can and natural gas is like electricity, it’s an infrastructure. There are cities such as Alpine that are against it, but they already have it, and we want to encourage more opportunities, that’s all I want to do,” said Ferguson.