Seeking improved safety and efficiency for its vehicle fleet, Hidalgo County created the Executive Office Vehicle GPS Program, which controls the county's vehicles and reduces operating cost.

The Texas Association of Counties (TAC) awarded Hidalgo County a 2016 Best Practices award in recognition of this innovative program.

By installing GPS monitoring on 121 vehicles, the county is now able to track idle times, speed and location of each car on the road. The county receives daily alerts on vehicles that require an oil change, a new battery or a tire rotation.

"This is a great program for any county wanting a better way to manage any size fleet of vehicles," said TAC County Relations Officer Rick Avery. "We hope this award will inspire other counties to follow suit with their own initiatives."

Hidalgo County was one of the more than 15 counties across Texas selected by TAC to receive a Best Practices Award.

"I want to acknowledge all of the county department heads and their employees who we deal with on a daily basis. Without their buying into the program we would not be able to achieve the success that we have," said Chris Treviño, County Operations Administrator for Executive Office.

Commissioners Court recognizes Texas Revolution hero Elder B. Barton

Commissioners Court honored a true Texas Revolutionary hero and soldier with the approval of a resolution in support of Elder B. Barton.

Born in New York City, Barton joined the Texian army in March 13, 1836. Led by General Sam Houston, the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution.

Barton was honorably discharged from the army in October 1836 and moved to Matamoros, Tamalipas where he met wife Santitos Balli. Together they moved to Brownsville to start their family.

Gloria Champion Garcia, Barton's great granddaughter, thanked Commissioners Court for the resolution on behalf of her family.

"It's been quite an honor to see his name living on in the county of Hidalgo," said Garcia. "We wanted to bring his name back to life because he is a hero of the Texas Revolution."

During their lifetime, the Bartons lived in several towns across the Rio Grande Valley. Barton was involved in several endeavors and careers.

"We're very happy Commissioner Cuellar did this for us especially since we live in his precinct. We appreciate the entire Commissioners Court along with Judge Ramon Garcia for showing support, and we're especially grateful for the historic marker that was created in his honor," said Garcia.

County toy-drive to benefit Head Start children

Employees and "Chief Elves" have been working diligently to bring Christmas to the county's Head Start program. More than 3,600 children ages 3 and 4 will be the recipients of toys collected from multiple county departments and offices.

"This year we've adopted 29 of the 40 Head Start Centers providing gifts to 2,529 children," reported Public Affairs Director Julia Benitez Sullivan. "The Head Start Program has arranged for the children in the other 31 centers to receive Christmas gifts from sponsors."

Toys will be delivered to each center from December 6 - 9 by Head Start and county employees.

This toy drive is one way county employees give back to the community during the busy holiday season.