City of Laredo

City Council Annual Budget Workshop

For Proposed Fiscal Year 2000-2001 Budget


City Council Chambers

1110 Houston Street

Laredo, Texas 78040

Thursday, August 10, 2000

Friday, August 11, 2000

Saturday August 12, 2000

5:30 p.m.


Call to Order


            With a quorum present Mayor Elizabeth G.  Flores called the meeting to order.


Roll Call


            Elizabeth G.  Flores,                                         Mayor

            Alfredo Agredano,                                            Councilmember, District I

            Louis H.  Bruni,                                             Councilmember, District II

            John C.  Galo,                                                    Councilmember, District III

            Johnny Amaya,                                                Councilmember, District IV

            Eliseo Valdez, Jr.,                                           Councilmember, District V

            Joe A.  Guerra,                                     Mayor Pro Tempore, District VI

            Jose A.  Valdez, Jr.                                            Councilmember, District VII

            Juan Ramirez,                                                           Councilmember,  District VIII

            Gustavo Guevara, Jr.,                                      City Secretary

            Larry Dovalina,                                              Acting City Manager

            Cynthia Collazo,                                                Acting City Manager

            Jerry Cain,                                                    City Attorney


I.            Introduction and Welcoming Remarks


            Larry Dovalina, Acting City Manager

            Cynthia Collazo, Acting City Manager


Larry Dovalina, Acting City Manager, opened the workshop with the following remarks:


“The 2000-2001 has been prepared with the intentions to meet the City’s needs that have been paralleled with the City Council’s vision.  The City’s growth rate over the last five years has presented challenges to our capital improvement program.  These challenges have been met by a positive and dedicated staff that is the strength of our organization.


Our capital improvement program (street improvements, drainage, quality of life projects) has required that we consider innovative financing methods that accelerate funding rather than the “pay as you go” traditional method.


Another challenging area has been the growth experienced by public safety, which is the last three years is 34% or $10 million in operational expenses. We should be proud of our police and fire departments.  The Council’s aggressive funding leveraged by state and federal grants has ranked them among the top compared to cities our size.  The challenge has been to contain these services in balance to our general revenue. This proposed budget provides that balance.”


Cynthia Collazo, Acting City Manager, commented on the Strategic Planning Conference held on August 11, 2000.  The following areas were addressed:




1 year                 Ensure Bridge IV is constructed and operational.

                                    World Trade Bridge completed and operational April 15, 2000.


3 year                 Identify a site for south Laredo Bridge.


Potential tract annexed.  Coordination with TxDot will continue in the environmental study and Nuevo Laredo.  Identified in TIP for 2004-2005.


5 year                 All City vehicles to operate on CNG.


                                    Preparation of CNG fueling station at DPW service center complete.


Public Safety


1 year                 Have Fire Station # 12 operational.


                                    Design for construction of Fire Station # 12 underway.


3 year                 Each district should have at least one substation.


One police substation in each district is in place and contracts have been awarded for stations in District I, V, and VII.


3 year                 To have Regional Fire Training Facility Operational.


                                    Site acquisition completed.  Design is 95% complete.


5 year                 Relocate Railroad Bridge from Downtown Area.


Rail mobility comprehensive plan currently under study and expected to be completed in September 2000.


3 year                 Each district should have at least one substation.





Economic Development


1 year            Work closely with L. D. F.  in the development of policies that will attract jobs to Laredo.


                        The implementation of a tax abatement program has been adopted.  Two businesses have been assisted:  M. S. Carriers and Laredo Candle Company.


3 year            Reconsider the economic sales tax and emulate some of the successful projects and process what other cities have done to attract jobs to our area.


                        The economic sales tax referendum is currently being considered.


5 year            To increase the Ad Valorem Tax Base by increasing and retaining the number of businesses with environmental friendly policies and better paying jobs.


                        Future plans for the development of an improvement tax district and downtown improvement district.




1 year            Conduct Franchise Audits.


                        Contracted with Navigant Consultant to conduct audit of Entex.


3 year            Conduct performance audits on all City Departments.


                        Performance audits of three major departmental functions were undertaken this fiscal year.


3 year            Earmark funding to continue to employ the police officers that were previously paid through grants.


                        General fund reserves have been earmarked to maintain level of service.


5 year            Economic development sales tax.


                        Proposed was a ¼ of a cent sales tax to finance construction of a Laredo Entertainment Center.


Organizational Development


1 year            Good pay, benefits, employee development set aside money for incentive programs to be competitive with other cities our size.



                        The current budget included a 1.6% cost of living adjustment and a 2, 3, 4 % merit increase for all employees, excluding the fire and police departments.


Compensation comparison analysis conduced.


Medical Benefit Rate Study accomplished.


Continuous employee training offered.


1 year            Create incentive program and set aside money to award employees of performance measures.


                        1999-2000 City Employee Pay Plan was adopted.


3 year            Establish training/safety programs and reward those who excel.


                        Department director, mid-management, and first line supervisor training programs continued.


                        Program has budgeted a staff trainer for FY 2001.


                        Safety incentive program currently under design.


                        Driver safety program instructor trained, materials purchased and program under design.


5 year            Have the very best trained, well-paid employees in comparison with other cities our size.


                        Training and safety incentive program enhanced.


                        Fourth class of Leadership program initiated.


                        Classification and compensation comparison study conducted.


Customer Service


1 year            Monitor customer service representative and software data results.


                        The program continues to be implemented with the completion of the I-Net providing remote access to the customer service software.


Quality of Life


1 year            Increased park maintenance personnel by one office position and 6 groundskeeper positions.


                        Seasonal recreational positions increased by three playground assistants, one playground leader and thirteen lifeguards.


                        Bruni Plaza established and staffed accordingly.


                        Library operation hours extended six hours weekly by providing overtime funds.


5 year            Civic Center/ Multi Purpose Use Center.


                        $3.8 million in reserve for Civic Center/Multi Purpose Laredo Entertainment Center proposal.


Growth Management


1 year            Review and update of land use plan.


                        Digitizing of zoning map 98% - complete.


                        Conducting current land use survey – 80% complete.


                        Data collection and forecast study completed.


                        Comprehensive mobility plan 50% completed.


                        A corridor intersection analysis 50% completed.


                        Parks Master Plan – Completed.


                        Update of Comprehensive plan initiated.


                        Laredo Metropolitan Transportation Plan for 2000 completed.


5 year            Review fees imposed for development and evaluate whether they’re promoting or stiffening growth.


                        Impact Fee Advisory Committee recently extended.


Community Advocacy


1 year            Get involved (take over) business council.


                        The Mayor’s office has taken over the business council and will initiate meetings in September.


3 year            Continue to work with business and community member as well as our legislature on issue affecting Laredo.


                        The City is also actively participating in:




                        Border Trade Alliance

                        Border Infrastructure Coalition

                        Texas Municipal League

                        National League of Cities

                        U. S. Conference of Mayors



                        North American International Trade Corridor Partnership.


                        The City continues to have legislative consultants in Austin and Washington.




1 year            Identify a secondary source of water.


                        Staff have identified three possible sources.


                        Staff is negotiating with firms for the delivery of five to twenty million gallons groundwater per day.


3 year            Identify and secure funding for continued expansion of water and wastewater infrastructure.


                        Staff is working with the community on the development of impact fees.


                        Project has been placed on hold in order to incorporate the groundwater project.


5 year            Identify and fund an off river reservoir for storage and recreation.


                        Staff has made preliminary inquires regarding possible funding sources.


II.            Financing Alternative for Proposed Capital Projects


            Noe Hinojosa – Estrada Hinojosa


Noe Hinojosa, from Estrada-Hinojosa Investment Bankers, gave a presentation on a plan of finance for proposed 2001 bond issues.


A detailed Plan of Finance Proposed 2001 Bond Issues may be viewed at the City Secretary’s Office.







III.       City Manager’s Recommended Budge for FY2000-2001


            A.            Ad-Valorem Tax Rate

                        Phyllis Colon, Tax Assessor-Collector


Phyllis Colon, Tax Assessor-Collector, gave a presentation before the Council.  The following information was submitted:


                        Year 2000 Appraisal Roll Information:


                        Total Appraised Value   $            5,587,394,005

                        Total Assessed Value                        $            5,445,459,623

                        Total Taxable Value              $            4,700,652,717

                        Number of Accounts                                        63,148

                        2000 Effective tax rate      $                  0.559286


            B.            Personnel Issues

                        Dan Migura, Administrative Services Director


                        1.            Pay Plan

                        2.            Health and Benefits


Dan Miguara, Administrative Services Director, gave a presentation before the Council.  He submitted the following information:


City of Laredo

Fiscal Year 2000/2001 Budget Proposal


Pay Plan:


1.  2.2% Cost of Living Adjustment on October 1, 2000.


2.  Continue Prior year Performance Based Pay Plan.


Health Benefits:


1.  Propose a 10% Rate Adjustment for Health Plan Contributions.


2.  Consider health Benefit Plan modifications to encourage employees to make

     good health care decisions.


3.  Reduce the health Insurance Contributions by 15%.


Health Benefits

            Fund Description                  Projected Budget     Rec.  Revision   Adjustment     Percentage

Dependent Health Ins. De.





Ins.  Premiums – Cobra





Med. Contributions Retire





Dep.  Dental Ins. Deduct.





Health Ins.  Contribution





Retirees – City





Dental Insurance











            C.            Proposed General Fund Revenues

                        Beto Ramirez, Budget Director


                        Heberto Ramirez, Budget Director, gave the presentation before the Council.


                        Motion to accept the General Fund Proposed Amendment.


                        Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

                        Second:  Cm.  Agredano

                        For:     8                                              Against:  0                                  Abstain:  0


                                                                                                Revenues                     Expenditures

                        Increase Property Tax Revenues                           58,909

                        Increase Riverdrive Mall Lease Rents           6,107

                        Increase Municipal Court Revenues                           35,600

                        Increase Sales Tax Revenues                                       71,319

                        Increase Electric Franchise Revenues                           31,547

                        Reduce Airport Crash Crew Revenues                  (7,539)


                        Transfer-in Fleet Management Fund                    175,144


                        Reduce Reserve Appropriation                                                   (100,629)

                        Reduce Public Works Administration Exp                                              (1,184)

                        Increase Police Salaries (Survey)                                                             379,471

                        Increase Recreation Center Salaries                                                      80,813


                                                                                                    371,087                          358,471


                        Surplus (Deficit)                                                      12,616

                        Unfunded Requests

                        Increase WCAD Expenditure                                                                      71,319


Motion to increase the employees Health Plan Contributions by 10% for dependent coverage from a projected health benefits budget of $ 8,806,338 to $ 7,510,455.74.


Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0







            D.            Proposed FY2000-04 – Capital Improvement Program

                        Keith Selman, Planning Director


                        1.            Video of Completed Projects

                        2.            Proposed New Projects


Keith Selman, Planning Director, went over the 2001-2005 Capital Improvement Program.  A summary of the 2001-2005 Capital Improvement Program may be found at the City Secretary’s Office.


            E.            Proposed FY2000-02 Budget – Municipal Court

                        Thomas Ochoa, Municipal Court Clerk


                        1.            Municipal Court Operations

                        2.            Proposed Municipal Court Building


                        Motion to adjust the Municipal Court Judge’s salary to $72,000 per year.


                        Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

                        Second:  Cm.  Agredano

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


                        Motion to adjourn.


                        Moved:  Cm.  Amaya

                        Second:  Cm.  Bruni

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Friday, August 11, 2000


            F.            Proposed FY 2000-01 Budget – Engineering Services

                        Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer


                        1.            Engineering Operation Highlights

                        2.            Status of Construction Projects

                        3.            NPDES Fund


Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer, went over the projects completed and the status of pending projects.  He reported a total of 69 project complete in FY2000 with a total cost of $71,666,223 and are working currently on 49 project with a total estimated cost of $47,097,086.65.


Motion to increase NPDES Fund Salary line item by $73,352 for two positions which was inadvertently omitted.  Total Budget will increase from $1,535,086 to $1,608,438.


Moved:  Cm.  Amaya

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


            G.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget- Parks & Rec. Department


John Vidaurri, Parks and Recreation Director, made the FY2000-01 budget presentation before the Council.


                        1.            Park Issues

                        2.            Recreation Center Programs

                        3.            Cemetery Operations

                        4.            Veteran’s Field


            H.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Library Department

                        Janice Weber, Library Director

                        Jose Vela III, Non-Profit and Volunteer Center Coordinator


                        Janice Weber, Library Director, gave the presentation before the Council.


                        1.            Library Operations

                        2.            Third Party Agencies


Motion to adopt the time schedule. (Main Library)


                        Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

                        Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     8                         Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Main Library Hours of Operation


                        Current 70 Hours/ week                                        Proposed 64 hours/week


                        Monday Through Thursday                                              Monday

                        9 a.m. to 9 p.m.                                                          9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

                        Friday                                                                          Tuesday through Thursday

                        9 a.m. to 5 p.m.                                                          9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

                        Saturday                                                                      Friday & Saturday

                        10 a.m. to 7 p.m.                                                          9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

                        Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.                                         Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Jose “Chito” Vela, Non-Profit Center Coordinator, went over the Third Party Funding.


Motion to increase the 5% penalty to 10% Third Party funding in General Fund and Hotel/Motel Fund.


Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0





            I.            Proposed FY 2000-01 Budget – C & VB Department

                        Don Raulie, Convention & Visitors Bureau Director


Don Raulie, Covention & Visitors Bureau Director,  made the presentation before the Council.


                        1.            Hotel-Motel Fund Revenues

                        2.            Mercado Fund

                        3.            Civic Center Fund

                        4.            Convention & Visitors Bureau Fund


            J.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Bridge Department

                        Rafael Garcia, Bridge Director


                        Rafael Garcia, Bridge System Director, went over the bridge system budget.


                        1.            Bridge Operations


Motion to add a Customer Service Center Manager position to the budget and delete 4 cashiers/teller positions.


Moved:  Cm.  Amaya

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                  Abstain:  0




Roberto Murillo, Traffic Director, reported on their proposed budget on Traffic Safety and Parking Meter Fund.


Motion to amend the FY2000-01 decreasing opening balance in the Parking Meter Fund in the amount of $99,190 due to under estimating expenditures in FY99-00.


Moved:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


            K.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Airport Department


                        Jose Flores, Airport Director, gave the presentation before the Council.


                        1.            Airport Revenues

                        2.            Proposed Airport Expenditures

                        3.            Airport Projects


                        Motion to increase the ARFF account by $12,339.


                        Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

                        Second:  Cm.  Amaya

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Motion to transfer proceeds of sale of land in the amount of $2,007,000 from Airport Funds to the Airport Construction Fund.


Motion to adjourn.


Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


Saturday, August 12, 2000


            L.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Fire Department

                        Tomas Ramirez, Fire Chief


Mayor Flores asked Acting City Manager Dovalina to get with Fire Chief Ramirez to work with the permit ordinance and bring back recommendation to the council for the possibility of increasing the Haz-Mat personnel. 


                        1.            Fire Prevention and Suppression

                        2.            EMS & Ambulance Services

                        3.            Status of Fire Training Facility

                        4.            Status of Fire Station No. 12


Motion to form a committee of City Managers, Firefighter Alarcon, Cm.  Guerra, Cm.  Galo, Cm.  Agredano to work on ideas for funding of an aerial truck, fire equipment and personnel.


Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

                        Second:  Cm.  Valdez

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Q.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Laredo Municipal Housing

                        Mario Maldonaldo, Laredo Municipal Housing Director


Mario Maldonado, MHC Manager, spoke on the Jose A.  Flores and the Tomas Flores Apartments.  He added that they are proposing rental rate increases as follows:


Jose Flores Apt. – Occupied Units


                                                Current            FMR                FMR %


                        2 Bed               $335                $485                69%

                        3 Bed               $370                $606                61%

                        4 Bed               $410                $682                60%





                                                Proposed        FMR                FMR%

                        2 Bed               $345                $485                71%

                        3 Bed               $430                $606                71%

                        4 Bed               $485                $682                71%


                        Additional Revenues:  $69,757


                        Rate includes water, sewer, garbage & maint.  service.


Tomas Flores Apartments – Occupied Unites


                                                Current            FMR                FMR%

                        2 Bed               $335                $485                69%

                        3 Bed               $395                $606                65%


                                                Proposed        FMR                FMR %

                        2 Bed               $345                $485                71%

                        3 Bed               $430                $606                71%


                        Additional Revenues:  $11,115


                        Rates include water, sewer, garbage and maint. service.


                        Last Rent Increase:  1-1-98


Low Income Program


                                                CURR              FMR                FMR                            MAXIMUM

                        2 Bed               $220                $485                45%                             $305

                        3 Bed               $240                $606                40%                             $343

                                                PROP              FMR                FMR%                         MAXIMUM

                        2 Bed               $250                $485                52%                             $305

                        3 Bed               $275                $606                45%                             $343


                        Additional Revenue:  $5,040


                        Rates include water, sewer, garbage & Maintenance service


                        Last Increase 1-1-98



                        1.            Operations – Revenues and Expenditures



            M.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Police Department

                        Agustin Dovalina III, Police Chief


                        Agustin Dovalina, Police Chief, made the presentation.


                        1.            Police Operations

                        2.            Status of Community Oriented Policing Services (Substations)


            N.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Public Works Department

                        Joe Guerra, Public Works Director


                        Jose Guerra, Public Works Director, gave the presentation before the Council.


                        1.            Solid Waste Management Fund Operations

                                    a.  Vertical Expansion

                                    b.  Landfill Operations

                                    c.  Closure and Post Closure Costs

                        2.            Public Works Operations

                        3.            Fleet Management


Motion to add a D & R Cat, Dozer with trade in for Landfill Acct.  No. 556-2760-535-9004  in the amount of $235,00.


                        Moved:  Cm.  Amaya

                        Second:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                  Abstain:  0


Motion to reinstate funding under contractual services for Acct. No.  402-4315 Construction Crew for a total of $16,018 as follows:


                        402-4315-533-1000    Rental of Equipment                            $2,500

                        402-4315-533-1310            Professional Development                $1,300

                        402-4315-533-2020    Vehicle maintenance                              $2,500

                        402-4315-533-3000            Uniforms                                            $3,718

                        402-4315-533-5500            Purchased Professional Services            $5,500

                        402-4315-533-5551            Diagnostic Services                             $ 500


                        Moved:  Cm.  Amaya

                        Second:  Cm.  Galo

                        For:    8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Motion to add $81,250 to Acct. No. 556-2710-535-9301 for furniture and equipment for the new Public Works Service Center.


Moved:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:    8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


A note to inform Council the amount allocated for Waste Disposal under account number 101-2710-533-500 should have been $299,579 instead of $100,000 and that we may have to come back for additional funding during the year.


Motion to add 1 garbage truck driver and 2 garbage collectors from Solid Waste Management Fund.



Moved:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


O.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Utilities Department

            Fernando Roman, Utilities Department


            Fernando Roman, Utilities Director, gave the presentation.


            1.         Water Fund Revenues and Expenditures

            2.         Water Fund Capital Improvements

            3.            Wastewater Fund Revenues and Expenditures

            4.            Wastewater Fund Capital Improvements


P.            Proposed FY2000-01 Budget – Laredo Metro, Inc.

            Peter Behrman, Laredo Metro, Inc. General Manager


            1.            Operations Revenues and Expenditures

            2.         Capital Improvements


            Motion to recess as City Council and reconvene as Mass Transit Board.


            Moved:  Cm.  Galo

            Second:  Cm.  Bruni

            For:     8                                   Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


Motion to authorize City Manager to accept grant no. 51122F1013 in the amount of $275,584 from State Public Transportation Fund.  (This action is for budget purposes and will require formal action of a resolution by Mass Transit Board.)


Motion to adjourn as Mass Transit Board and reconvene as City Council.


Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                    Against:  0                                                Abstain:  0


                        Motion to adjourn.


                        Moved:  Cm.  Galo

                        Second:  Cm.  Bruni

                        For:     8                                  Against:  0                                              Abstain:  0


I hereby certify that the minutes contained in pages 01 to 15 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the City Council held on this the 10th, 11th, and 12th day of August, 2000.




                                                                                    Gustavo Guevara, Jr

                                                                                    City Secretary