LYFORD, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Rio Grande Valley is no stranger to flooding. However, residents in Lyford said they have been dealing with the same flood water for about a year.
The neighborhood on Simon Gomez Road looks like any other from the street, but hiding behind a few of the homes are hundreds of crab holes, mosquitos, and water damage to property.
City of Lyford Mayor Rick Salinas said the area has “always” been prone to flooding as it sits on a retention pond. He also said this area is lateral to Hidalgo, so it receives that area’s water as it drains into Lyford.
Mayor Salinas claims he told a resident, Antonia Naranjo, that she was located in a flood zone and to build her house on higher ground three years ago as she was moving into her current home.
Antonia Naranjo told ValleyCentral she never knew it would be as bad as it has gotten.
Naranjo’s neighbor, Todd Harris, has lived in the house next to her for 11 years. He said the flooding has been an ongoing issue that never seems to go away or get fixed.
“It stays flooded or if we get any hurricanes that come in, it floods from back here and it goes all the way back to our house,” added Harris.
Over the years, Harris estimated hundreds of dollars lost to the floodwater. He claims his insurance hardly covers any of the costs.
Harris has an RV camper at the back of his home. He said he cannot use it because the mud surrounding his camper is soft, and he sinks in when walking around it.
Both Naranjo and Harris are looking for help from community officials but said no one has helped them in the year they have made those complaints.
“We’re not getting no help over anybody. They’re just passing on their baton. He said, she said, he said. That’s all we get,” added Naranjo.
Naranjo has a notebook in which she has written down at least 20 different names and phone numbers that she has been told to call about her flood issues.
ValleyCentral reached out to Willacy County Judge Aurelio Guerra Jr. for answers but has not received a response.
When ValleyCentral reached out to Mayor Salinas, he said he was fully aware of the problem as he used to live on Naranjo’s side of the street, but now lives across from her.
Mayor Salinas said help “doesn’t come overnight and it is not gonna happen overnight.” But Naranjo said this has been ongoing since early 2021.
When Mayor Salinas was asked about a resolution, even if temporary, he asked why the question of a current resolution was being asked again. After pondering on it, he said there is no immediate assistance the city can provide to the residents in question.
Mayor Salinas did say he recommended the city apply for funding from 2019. He has also asked the council to procure an administrator and engineer.
“Whether we get awarded or not is yet to see, but I think the chances are great,” added Mayor Salinas.
Naranjo told ValleyCentral she’s upset with the way things have been handled. If she and her husband hadn’t invested so much into their property, they would have moved. Harris also stated it’s getting to a point where he wants to move.
In the meantime, Naranjo has tried building a dirt mold around her house to prevent it from “sliding” into the water, but city officials came knocking on her door that same week with what she thought was a $500 fine.
Mayor Salinas said the city didn’t present her with a fine, it was a city permit allowing her to build up a dirt mold around her house. He said without one, she is not authorized to build a “project” as such.
Naranjo ended up taking down the dirt mold she built and did not have to pay for a city permit.
Although Mayor Salinas is not able to offer immediate help, he is able to offer the suggestions of either elevating the property or allowing the city to buy the property.
According to Home Guide, the average cost to raise a house above the flood zone is $20,000 to $80,000 for piers or pilings.