Alton cancels election after no challengers enter race

The path has been cleared for Alton Mayor Salvador Vela and Place 1 Commissioner Arturo Galvan, Jr. to continue serving in their roles for another four years after no candidate filed to run against them in May.

The two incumbents were the only two up for re-election leading the city commission to cancel the May 4 elections during a city commission meeting on Tuesday.

Vela, a business owner, has served as mayor since 1990 after having already served on the commission for 12 years.

Galvan, a respiratory therapist, has been a commissioner since 1989. He did not return a request for comment as of press time.

If he did have to campaign, Vela said he would have asked residents to vote for him to maintain momentum.

The city is currently finishing up a project to bring free Wifi to residents. It also received a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission last year to expand Josefa Garcia Park.

The city recently reached a milestone by surpassing $1 million in sales tax revenues last year. A lot of that revenue was boosted by the city’s population growth, according to City Manager Jorge Arcaute.

Since Vela first took over as mayor in 1990, the population has grown from about 2,000 to about 17,200, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Vela believes the city’s property tax rate, which is lower than those of neighboring McAllen and Mission, is a big factor in that growth.

“People do look at the tax rate when they’re buying a house,” Vela said. “They look at everything; it makes a difference.”

Vela, who described the city as a Christian community, said it was the environment — in addition to a low tax rate — that drew people to the city.

“They like the schools here and they like the environment, the community,” he said. “The people here are the best, I think.”