Mission’s director of public works accepts top post at Agua SUD – Progress Times

The Agua Special Utilities District hired a new general manager on Monday.

After meeting three candidates, the board selected Mission’s director of public works, Roberto J. Salinas, for the position.

“He was the most qualified,” said the chairman of the board of utilities, Homer Tijerina.

The utilities board agreed – and voted 6-0 to make Salinas the general manager. Director Adolfo Arriaga did not attend the meeting.

Salinas will begin in late September or early October, when Managing Director Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz resigns.

About 16,500 customers in western Hidalgo County and part of Starr County depend on Agua SUD for water and sewer service.

The general manager oversees approximately 70 employees, oversees the operation of three water treatment plants and manages a budget of nearly $ 11 million.

Agua SUD also provides sewer service to Sullivan City and Palmview, where contractors connect homes to a sewer system that remains under construction.

“This is one of the challenges that I’m going to be ready to take on,” Salinas said. “To finalize these projects, shut them down. “

Roberto J. Salinas. (Photo courtesy of the City of Mission.)

Salinas attended La Joya High School and received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Texas A&M University Kingsville.

After graduating, Salinas accepted a job with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Salinas worked for the Pharr District Bridge Section, where he reviewed bridge layouts, analyzed traffic, and prepared construction plans.

In 2006, he left the Ministry of Transport for the town of Mission.

Salinas became a systems engineer for the Department of Public Works, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act. Along with the public works projects, Salinas provided engineering services to other city departments.

The job description included everything from reviewing subdivision plans to briefing city council on engineering matters.

In 2010, when the Public works retired director, Mission chose Salinas to replace him. The job came with a wide range of responsibilities.

Salinas supervised workers who looked after the streets, drainage, traffic lights, water and sewage.

“I oversee all of these departments and I oversaw a few other departments as well,” Salinas said.

Salinas also started a company, RGV Water Works LLC, which provided sanitation services to local governments.

The independent school district of La Joya hired the company in 2017.

La Joya ISD has contracted RGV Water Works to operate the wastewater treatment plants on eight campuses, including Juarez-Lincoln High School. The district has agreed to pay a “base fee” of $ 945,000 to RGV Water Works for wastewater licensing, operation and maintenance services.

The company also worked for Agua SUD in 2017. At one point, Agua SUD considered outsourcing the management of water and wastewater treatment plants to RGV Water Works.

Acting CEO Richard LeFevre, who reviewed the proposal, concluded RGV Water Works was “too expensive,” according to a summary of his accomplishments that LeFevre submitted when he resigned.

La Joya ISD terminated the contract with RGV Water Works in December 2018. At the time, school board members stressed that they had no problem with Salinas and just wanted to cut costs.

Salinas also performed engineering work for La Joya ISD. Among other projects, he oversaw the installation of LED lights by Performance Services Inc., an Indiana company specializing in “energy saving” contracts.

The post of general manager of Agua SUD will bring Salinas back to western Hidalgo County. But first, he has to say goodbye to Mission.

“I really enjoy the city of Mission,” said Salinas. “I can’t say enough about the experience the city gave me.”

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