Face To Face: Alfredo "Fred" Carranza
The Texas Times recently caught up with Del Rio City Councilperson-District 1, Fred Carranza, to discuss municipal business. While Carranza is looking forward to the potential implementation of future projects — constructing a greatly needed new community gym and an additional international bridge — there are still some issues and ongoing undertakings of immediate concern to folks. Carranza graciously answered our questions. [The interview has been edited due to length restrictions.
TT: What is the city’s singular, primary issue and the plan to address it?
FC: The primary issue I think that we’re currently facing…the Covid, of course. We have to talk about Covid, right? There’s no way around that. But I think we’ve done a pretty good job with it now that we’re getting enough vaccines. I know in the last couple of weeks we’ve gotten several thousand vaccines…we need to get as many people as we can two doses…we’ve got every kind of vaccine available. But that’s been a struggle because everybody needed it at first. We were trying to get the elderly done. Now we’ve opened it up to everybody…and I’m hoping by July that we’ll be pretty well caught up with the majority of citizens who want to get it already—vaccinated.
TT: What is the status of the road and infrastructure improvements?
FC: On the streets, I think that of course, there’s more work to do. That the city as a whole, we’ve invested millions of dollars in getting not just the streets but the infrastructure renewed or upgraded…the last five years I think we invested probably $20 million on streets…we still have some pockets and then you have to start redoing streets probably up here on the north side that are already getting a little older. We’ve worked on San Felipe quite a bit…we’re gonna be doing a bunch of streets on the south part of town because they’re in the greatest need right now.
We did get the Qualia relief route done. That was long needed, and that was a project that had been there for 10 years or longer. I came on council and it was one of my priorities is to get that done and we were able to accomplish that with the support of the council. As we leave these projects behind longer and longer, the price gets more expensive and more expensive.
TT: Other significant issues...
FC: We’re also dealing with immigration…all of the immigrants that are coming across the border and how we’re gonna deal with that. The Chihuahua Center, the church group that’s out there, is doing an excellent job. We support them…we’ve been able to handle the numbers that we have now, but we’re always more worried that they’re gonna drop off more than the 100-150 a day. If they come and drop off 200 or 300, we probably don’t have enough transportation to get them out on the same day. Then we have to start housing people, feeding people, and that turns into a bigger problem…the federal government, I hope, will give us some help…at least reimburse us for the monies that we’re spending on a problem that really is what I believe is a federal problem and not the local City of Del Rio problem.
We need to spend some money on a new city hall…many years that’s been pushed down the list…that’s gonna cost us about $15 million. We’re gonna need to invest some money…on the generators that we just had the big problem in the snowstorm…our wastewater treatment plant was down, the substation for the sewer system were down. That’s gonna cost us several million dollars. It’s a balancing act. Do we keep just doing the streets, or do we start taking care of some of the other things? I, for myself, feel like we need to take care of some of these other items.