Mayor Tom Martin questions Councilman Hernandez eligibility to s - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Mayor Tom Martin questions Councilman Hernandez eligibility to serve

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Posted By James Clark - email and
Michael Slother - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Mayor Tom Martin says the city should know the fate of City Councilman Victor Hernandez by Tuesday.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 has learned from sources and independently confirmed that the City Attorney is looking into the issue of Councilman Victor Hernandez owing back taxes to the City of Lubbock.  According to the Lubbock Central Appraisal District Hernandez and his wife, Aurora, owe $10,920.26. 

Of that amount, $5,581.87 was due on January 31st, and $5,338.39 is owed for previous years on a building at 1114 10th street.   KCBD NewsChannel 11 was told that City officials were looking into the issue on January 31st after 5:00 PM.   

While back-taxes can be an issue for any property owner, it's especially an issue for a member of City Council.  The City Charter says "The Mayor, Councilmen, and other officers and employees shall not be indebted to the City." 

Martin said he gave Hernandez until Monday to decal are he's ineligible, or he was subject to the action of the council. A special City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2011.

If Hernandez declares he's ineligible, his district one seat would be subject to a special election. City Council could vote to remove, dismiss, or vacate Hernandez's seat.

The Charter also says "Any officer or employee of the City who shall cease to possess any of the qualifications herein required shall forfeit his office or position…"

City Attorney Sam Medina tells KCBD NewsChannel 11, "I am looking into it and I am working on this issue.  However, I'm not going to have a lot of comment just yet."

Could Hernandez be unseated?  Confidential sources say it is possible and that's one of the things the City Attorney was asked to research.

Hernandez has not yet returned calls requesting comment.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 looked into Hernandez' tax issue, along with other candidates for City Council, when he was running for office more than a year ago.  At that time he acknowledged owing roughly $5,900 and said, "… we normally enter into an agreement with the LCAD and pay that on a monthly basis."

 During the time in question his tax liability on the commercial property in question has almost doubled.  The taxable value of the building is $242,717.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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