Mayor Statement on Hidalgo County Seat and Courthouse
“The City of Edinburg has been and is supportive to the construction of the New Hidalgo County Courthouse at the current Courthouse Square in Edinburg.
The City of Edinburg has been the Hidalgo County Seat since 1908 when County Leaders moved the County Seat to Edinburg
For the record, the City of Edinburg has been working with Hidalgo County for more than five years concerning the planning of the New Courthouse and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County in the planning and financial participation in the construction of the new Courthouse.
The City of Edinburg is committed to having the new Hidalgo County Courthouse built in Edinburg’s Downtown Square, but in response to recent news reports we want the citizens of Edinburg and Hidalgo County to know what steps need to be followed for the County Seat to be moved or the new Courthouse to be built outside of Edinburg.
As per State Law, the county judge of a county shall order an election on the question of the relocation of the county seat of the county if an application for the relocation election is made by a least 100 resident freeholders and qualified voters of the county. However:
If the county has 150 or fewer qualified voters or if the county seat has been established in the same location for more than 40 years, a majority of the resident freeholders and qualified voters of the county, as determined by the county judge from the county assessment rolls, must make the application. The current courthouse was built 64 years ago in 1953.
In summary, the majority of the resident freeholders and qualified voters of the county means that at least 50% + of registered voters that are property owners in the county must sign a petition to request that the county judge order an election to move the county seat. This means that 185,000 registered voters in the county would need to sign a petition for an election to be called.
Second, whether it is possible to build a New Courthouse in another City and keep the County Seat in Edinburg. As per State Law the following applies:
Requires courts to conduct proceedings ‘at the County Seat of the county in which the case is pending.’
In other words, any cases in District Courts or County Court of Law Courts need to be heard in the County Seat so a new Courthouse that houses these courts needs to remain in the County Seat which is Edinburg.
The Edinburg City Council wants the Citizens of Edinburg to know that the rhetoric currently circulating in the news media and within the County is only rhetoric and should not cloud any planning and financial negotiations that the City of Edinburg and Hidalgo County are having. It is the responsibility of the Mayor and City Council to have the best interests of the citizens of Edinburg in mind especially all long term commitments entered into by the City.”