HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — A new drainage standard will officially be implemented in Harlingen following the passage of two ordinances at a city commission meeting.  

Despite flood victims making a final plea for a 50-year flood plan, commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a 25-year plan.  

“Just look around to most of the recent developments, the drainage continues failing,” said Martha Gracia. “We have paid thousands of dollars in taxes, repairs, and some of us are living in old homes because we can’t afford it. Also, after you file so many insurances claims your coverage gets denied.”  

Martha Gracia spoke during tonight’s virtual commission meeting and was not alone.  

Founder of the group Reinvent Harlingen Drainage J.V. Garcia also called and quoted Commissioner Victor Leal, who at the first vote said he had water in his house, but still voted in favor of the proposals.  

“Victor, I’m sorry you got water in your house, but things can get a lot worse,” said Garcia during the call. “Surrounding land at garret road, once they’re developed using this ordinance, it’s going to be a lot worse. All your neighbors, all your constituents will appreciate if you vote no today on items 3. c) and 3. d).”  

Commissioners Frank Puente and Richard Uribe opposed the ordinances, as they did at the first meeting.  

Before the vote, Puente asked to know the difference in cost between a 50-year plan and a 25-year plan.  

“My point is, let’s do whatever we can to protect our citizens, new ones or the ones that are existing,” said Puente. “And still we don’t know what that cost is. If it’s not that much of a difference, why don’t we go to the maximum?”  

The city’s engineer says there are too many variables to put a dollar figure to the plans.   

Mayor Chris Boswell said he is troubled by people’s unwillingness to compromise.  

“The point is this ordinance is a step forward and it strengthens our building codes and ordinances and guidelines to mitigate against further flooding, and I think that’s what’s being lost here,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Garcia and ReinventHarlingen Drainage say they remain hopeful for the future and will continue to be a voice for change.