CITY OF LAREDO

                                           CITY COUNCIL MEETING

                                                         M2001-R-04

                                          CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

                                              1110 HOUSTON STREET

                                               LAREDO, TEXAS 78040

                                                   FEBRUARY 5, 2001

                                                             5:30 P.M.

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

 

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

 

II.        PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Mayor Elizabeth G.  Flores led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

III.       ROLL CALL

 

            In attendance:

 

            Elizabeth G.  Flores,                                                                 Mayor

            Alfredo Agredano,                                                                    Council Member, District I

            Louis H.  Bruni,                                                                        Council Member, District II

            John C.  Galo,                                                                          Council Member, District III

            Johnny Amaya,                                                                         Council Member, District IV

            Eliseo Valdez, Jr.,                                                                     Council Member, District V

            Jose A.  Guerra,                                                                       Mayor Pro Tempore, District VI

            Jose A.  Valdez, Jr.,                                                                 Council Member, District VII

            Juan Ramirez,                                                                           Council Member, District VIII

            Gustavo Guevara, Jr.,                                                               City Secretary

            Larry Dovalina,                                                                         City Manager

            Cynthia Collazo,                                                                       Assistant City Manager

            Jaime Flores,                                                                            City Attorney

 

IV.       MINUTES

 

            Approval of the minutes of December 4, 2000 and December 18, 2000.

 

            Motion to approve.

 

            Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

            Second:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

 

V.        COMMUNICATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS

 

Announcements

 

Mayor Flores announced the visitation of some special guests from the Webb County Head Start program.  She welcomed all the parents who were in attendance as well as Linda Payle, the Pan Enrollment Coordinator, and Belin Cisneros, Assistant Coordinator.  They came to witness firsthand the City Council in action and see where the meetings are held. 

 

            Cm. Galo announced that TxDot would begin with the demolition work tomorrow morning at the Chacon-Meadow Bridge.

 

            Cm. Bruni announced that February 1st was the first day of weather modification for the Southwest Texas Rain Enhancement Association.  He is hoping for a very prosperous rainy season for all the residents.

 

            Cm. J. Valdez, Jr. pointed out that he has seen some sidewalk improvements for the residents of Dellwood Subdivision and wants to inform people that our Public Works Department is hard at work making improvements for all the residents of Laredo.

           

Cm. E. Valdez, Jr. thanked the Public Works Director, Joe Guerra,  and his crew for taking action on Calton Road and showed his appreciation for their commitment to come through on their promises.

 

Cm. Ramirez recognized the Fire Department crew for their assistance and hard work at the Azteca neighborhood during a recent fire.

 

Mayor Flores read a letter from U. S. Senator Phil Graham:

 

Dear Mayor Flores:

 

“As the new year begins, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for having had the chance to work with you in 2000.  I hope that you and the City of Laredo enjoyed a prosperous year and that 2001 will hold even greater promise.  As you and your colleagues in city government review the priorities for the City of Laredo in the coming year, I am looking forward to working with you to promote the interests of the people of Laredo.  With a new Congress and a new administration in Washington, legislation with a direct impact on our cities and counties is likely to be considered during this session of the Senate.  As always, the experience and insight of local leaders such as yourself will be crucial to me in evaluating the merits of these proposals.  I am glad to have had the benefit of your views in the past, and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the people of Laredo and all Texans as member of the U. S. Senate.  Once again, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any service in addressing the concerns of the City of Laredo.”

           

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, announced that a number of City of Laredo employees  participated as an employee group with the Walk America 2001 sponsored by the American Heart Association.  The city employees received prizes for the most creative T-shirt as well as having the highest number of participants and contributing over $1,400.00 to the organization.

           

Mayor Flores mentioned that she was in receipt of a letter from Sen. Elliot Shapley regarding a report he presented titled the Texas Borderlands: Frontier of the Americas.  She received a copy of Sen. Lucio’s report on the subject as well.  She mentioned that both senators have worked closely with Sen. Judith Zaffirini regarding proposed bills on these important border issues. 

 

Invitations

 

            None.

 

Recognitions

 

a.  Recognizing the City of Laredo Finance Department in receiving the Certificate of

Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

 

Mayor Flores and the City Council congratulated the Finance Department on their outstanding achievements at being recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States for their excellence in job performance.

 

b.  Recognition by the Mayor and City Council Members of employees that retired from the

     City of Laredo with 20 years or more of service for the period of December, 2000.

 

      Mayor Flores recognized the following employees for their commitment and service to the City of Laredo:

 

      Juan M. Salinas, 21 years of service with the Utilities Department.

      Jose A. Martinez, 30 years with the Public Works Department.

      Edmundo Gutierrez, 23 years with the Public Works Department.

      Martha S. Chavez, 20 years with the Laredo Police Department.

 

c.  Recognizing 14 students from local middle schools who have been chosen as "Eighth

Grader of the Month" for January by the Laredo Police Department Community Relations Unit and local school counselors.

           

                  The following students were present to receive their certificates of recognition:

 

                  Adolfo Mora                                  L. J. Christen Middle

                  Jacob Diaz                                     Lamar Middle

                  Erica Rae Ramirez              Trautmann Middle       

                  Kim Teran                                      United Middle 

                  Richard Sames                               Clark Middle

                  Jessie Hernandez                            Los Obispos Middle

                 

                  The following students who were not present were also recognized for their achievements:

 

Sergio Leza                                    Cigarroa Middle

                  Ramiro Herrera                              Memorial Middle

                  Gerardo Lozano                             United South Middle

                  Montserrat Calderon                      Salvador Garcia Middle

                  Jose Angel Benavides                     George Washington Middle

                  Geoffrey Edward Daves                 San Agustin Middle

                  Tony Caballero                               United Day Middle

                  Jaime Lara                                      Mary Help of Christians Middle

 

Communiqués

 

VI.       APPOINTMENTS TO COMMISSION, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

 

a.  Appointment of Henry Alexander by Council Member John C. Galo to the

     Transportation and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.

 

                  Motion to approve.

 

                  Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

                  Second:  Cm.  Amaya

                  For:     8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

                

b.  Appointment by Council Member Louis H. Bruni of Jay Stout to the Citizens

Environmental Advisory Committee, Raquel Valle Senties to the Plaza Theater Ad-Hoc Committee and Ron Stewart to the Redistricting Committee.

 

      Motion to approve.

 

                  Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

                  Second:  Cm.  Amaya

                  For:     8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

c.  Appointment by Council Member Jose Valdez, Jr. of Mary Lou Cervantes to the Laredo

     Women's Commission and Daniel Torres to the Redistricting Committee.

 

      Motion to approve.

 

                  Moved:  Cm.  Galo

                  Second:  Cm.  Agredano

                  For:     8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

d.  Appointment by Council Member Juan Ramirez of Sylvia Pedraza to the Plaza Theater

     Renovation Project Ad-Hoc Committee.

 

     Motion to approve.

 

                 Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

                 Second:  Cm.  Galo

                 For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

   VII.  PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

1.  Public hearing amending the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances Chapter 33,

Environmental Protection, Article 1, by repealing Section 33-1 and approving and adopting Section 33-1 as written hereunder including the establishment of the Citizen's Environmental Advisory Committee, its membership, terms of office, methods of appointment, authority, duties, and other terms and conditions and providing for publication and effective date.

 

INTRODUCTION OF AN ORDINANCE

Amending the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances Chapter 33, Environmental Protection, Article 1, by repealing Section 33-1 and approving and adopting Section 33-1 as written hereunder including the establishment of the Citizen's Environmental Advisory Committee, its membership, terms of office, methods of appointment, authority, duties, and other terms and conditions and providing for publication and effective date.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the pubic hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

2.  Public hearing amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by rezoning

Lot 200, Block 10, Del Mar Hills Subdivision, Section I, Area "A", located at 618 Idylwood Ln., from R-1 (Single Family Residential District) to B-1 (Limited Business District).  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the proposed zone change and approval of a Conditional Use Permit for a child day care center.

 

INTRODUCTION OF AN ORDINANCE

Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by rezoning Lot 200, Block 10, Del Mar Hills Subdivision, Section I, Area "A", located at 618 Idylwood Ln., from R-1 (Single Family Residential District) to B-1 (Limited Business District); providing for publication and effective date.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Wendy Kissman, a resident who has a daughter at the day care center, spoke in favor of the zone change.  She mentioned that it has been a positive experience because there is no heavy traffic along the route in the mornings.  She said that she has been very pleased with the facilities.

 

Alba Meza Rendon, representing her father, stated that as a resident of Idylwood Lane, he is shocked and disappointed that there is consideration to have a commercial enterprise operate in a residential neighborhood in direct conflict with the subdivision’s deed restrictions which are on file on record.  She stated that this matter affects her deeply because it directly affects her widowed father.  Also, she said this issue deserves address because it affects thousands of hard-working Laredoans who have purchased homes or who will soon join the ranks of homeowners in subdivisions across the city.  She stated that the city that collects her taxes and is supposed to protect her interests is undermining the deed restrictions of her residential neighborhood by including the right to locate day care centers, public libraries, etc.  She further mentioned that this encourages citizens such as this applicant to violate the terms of the deed restrictions and forces law-abiding citizens to spend their hard-earned money on attorney’s fees to protect the residential integrity of their neighborhoods.

 

Gerardo Carmona, a resident who has a child attending the day care center, spoke in favor of the zone change designation.

 

Consuelo Ramirez, who lives in close proximity to the day care center, spoke in favor of the zone change designation.

 

Monica Calles, the applicant, stated that she is committed to meeting all the conditions imposed by the Planning and Zoning Department. 

 

Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra stated that as part of the conditional use permit, several residents have recommended that concrete be used instead of asphalt because of its durability.  He further suggested that the Legal Department should look into the deed restrictions mentioned by Ms. Meza.

 

Keith Selman, Planning and Zoning Director, mentioned that his department is not supporting the zone change nor the conditional use permit.  He advised City Council not to knowingly allow an activity that they know is a violation of a deed covenant. 

 

Motion to close the pubic hearing and introduce, subject to deed restrictions clarification by Legal Department.

 

Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

 

VIII.    GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

 

3.  A.  Request by Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores

 

1.  Discussion with possible action on the City of Laredo's State and Federal

Legislative Agenda for self assignments by Council Members.   Including the availability and commitment for trips, letter writing, presentation to constituencies, research and any other means related to Legislative Advocacy for the City of Laredo. 

 

     Areas on:

 

1. Transportation

a. Surface

b. Railroad

c. Air 

2.  Environment

3.  Housing

4.  International Trade Activity

5.  Redistricting

6.  Other

 

Mayor Flores stated that she wanted to be sure that she received some information from the Council Members as to what particular issues they would like to have addressed both at the state and federal levels. She wants feedback from all of them as to what specific issues each one would like to have her backing on so that they can be kept abreast as to specific legislation being considered that would deal with their concerns and that may affect each individual council district in some way. 

 

Cm. E. Valdez, Jr. stated that one thing he is interested in deals with transportation and he would like to see the federal government consider doing something for off-system roads.  He mentioned that many of our off-system roads are deeply impacted by the NAFTA trade and the heavy flow of tractor-trailers and it is the local citizens who are having to provide funding for these road improvements through local tax dollars.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, reported that this was one of the topics under discussion at the Texas Municipal League Legislative Briefing held earlier today.  He reiterated the fact that the federal highway funding source always put in money into the on-system roadway but does not leave any revenue stream to fix the city streets.  Therefore, they want to ensure that there is a formation of a revenue stream to be able to address the issue of city streets.

 

Mayor Flores mentioned that there would also be future discussions regarding international trade activity.  She stated that at the federal level, U. S. Senator Phil Gramm has filed legislation to assist the U. S. Customs Service expedite the congestion at the bridges which is a huge problem locally.

 

                 B.  Request by Council Member Louis H. Bruni

 

1.  Discussion and possible action on the street maintenance of Locust Street

     between Bartlett and Arkansas Avenues.

 

      Cm. Bruni mentioned that there seems to be a continuous utility cut on either the waste water line or fresh water line that runs the entire length of the street.

 

      Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer, reported that this street fell under the recycling project and said project contract would be awarded during this council meeting.  He did agree that the street would need to be repaired before any major work is done through the recycling project.

 

2.  Status report on existing Utility Street cuts in District II, with possible action.

 

                             Fernando Roman, Utilities Director, reported that one of the things they agreed to purchase is a pot patcher paid for by the Utilities Fund so that they would have an extra machine available for the Public Works Department and in that way expand their capabilities.  He stated that this would take care of the delay they have had between the time that his department would finish the cut and then allow the other department to come in and finish the project.

                       

3.  Discussion and possible action on the continued residential encroachment on the

     Laredo International Airport.

 

     Cm. Bruni stated that some time ago, the Planning and Zoning Department was against a certain subdivision continuing their R-1 south tract in building right up to our Laredo International Airport.

 

     Humberto Garza, Airport Property Manager, reported that Jose Flores, Airport Director, is presently in Ft. Worth discussing this concern with Federal Aviation Administration officials.  He mentioned that this tract of land is one of six tracts that they have identified for possible acquisition.  It is currently vacant and undeveloped and, at this point in time, they would like to encourage the possibility of having the City acquired it. 

 

     Cm. Bruni mentioned that there has been discussion about moratoriums in the immediate area.  He stated that if nothing is done now the City Council would just be creating another problem for the future. 

 

4.  Status report on the purchase of homes by our Noise Abatement Project, with

     possible action.

 

     Cm. Bruni stated that our Community Development Director has aggressively pursued this issue, in particular, as to the purchase of homes that have been impacted by noise pollution problems.  He wants to be appraised of where the city stands in the acquisition of homes as well as the acquisition of avigational easements and the money that is still available for this project. 

 

     Erasmo Villarreal, Community Development Director, provided an update on the program.  He mentioned that to date, they have 72 participants who want to become involved in the acquisition program.   They have had 52 families that have participated with litigation easement and 10 families have chosen the acoustical treatment program.  They have completed the acquisition of 53 units and have completed the avigational easements for 28 families, and have initiated the sound proofing under the acoustical program.  They have 19 families in the process of securing fee simple acquisition, 24 families are also in the process for the  avigational easement, and an additional nine families who are going to participate in the acoustical treatment program.   The expenditures undertaken have totaled to approximately $7.9 million dollars out of $10 million dollars that they had allocated to start the program.   He reported that this leasing program, which was initiated 30 days ago, has expanded quickly.  He stated that Laredo Municipal Housing Corp. has enough applicants right now to lease all remaining units.  What the agency is  doing is taking deposits on the units and getting them completed to place them on the market as soon as they can get the units ready. 

 

     Cm. Bruni inquired whether the department is anticipating additional funding for the program.

 

     Erasmo Villarreal replied that they are anticipating being awarded an additional $2.5 million dollars from the Federal Aviation Administration to continue this program.  He mentioned that part of what Jose Flores, Airport Director, is doing is securing additional funds for the Part 150 to secure additional acquisition of vacant land north and around different parts of the airport.

 

     Cm. Amaya inquired whether there are plans for a Phase II for soundproofing.

    

     Erasmo Villarreal replied that those plans are in the works once they finish with the first 20 homes. 

     Cm. Bruni mentioned that two property owners had given an avigational easement to the City of Laredo and had received their 8 % of the valuation for the property and later became dissatisfied with their decision.  He inquired whether the City of Laredo could refund the money and then have the City buy them out.

 

     Erasmo Villarreal stated that it is possible and that he would be willing to speak to the two property owners if he chooses to furnish him with their names.

    

                C.  Request by Council Member John C. Galo

 

1.  Discussion on the traffic congestion on Bridge II, with possible action.

 

                             Rafael Garcia, Bridge Director, reported that the traffic congestion is due to the flow of traffic coming off of IH-35 unto the bridges and the heavy traffic flow from the cross streets heading right unto IH-35.  He stated that unless those issues are addressed, this problem is not going to disappear.  He stated that the toll booth inspectors at the bridge average between eight to ten seconds to process each vehicle.  He mentioned that the long lines subsided when they moved the trucks to Bridge IV, but those gaps were quickly filled with vehicular traffic.  

 

                             Cm. Galo suggested that there needs to be a point farther north of the present location where the five lanes merge into three lanes in order to accommodate the traffic that is building up as motorists attempt to reach the bridge. 

 

                             Larry Dovalina, City Manager, stated that in addition, the Bridge Department is also attempting to promote the Easy Tag for motorists, in particular the daily commuters, in order to facilitate quick travel time through the bridge lanes. 

 

2.  Staff report on any potential sales and /or lease of the former Mercy Hospital

     property.

 

     Cynthia Collazo, Assistant City Manager, has contacted the current owner, Carlos Carranco, and he has not indicated whether he would be willing to sell or develop that property at this time.  He stated that he did have two firms come and visit and take a look at the property but there are no firm prospects being considered.  He is looking at another option and that is that the property be converted for use as a Veterans home or perhaps some type of assisted residential living.  He indicated to the City that he has not made any final decision as to what he will do.

 

    D.  Request by Council Member Eliseo Valdez, Jr.

 

1.  Discussion with possible action on how to develop a tool or amend an existing

ordinance to give our enforcement officials the authority to deal with what is perceived as a growing problem in our community.  There are several groups of people using empty lots in residential areas as junkyards.  They buy wrecked cars at auctions, and then they bring them into these residential areas, that are used as temporary staging areas before transporting them over to Mexico.  At times we even have tractors, and at times they dismantle these vehicles, creating eyesores and junkyards.  Some of these lots are owned by people in Mexico, which makes it hard for us to get them to comply with our existing ordinances.

 

Cm. E. Valdez, Jr. inquired as to what could be done with the existing ordinances in order to give Zone Enforcement Officers more authority.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, stated that those vehicles in overnight staging areas can be addressed by prohibiting the overnight parking in those areas and have them towed away. 

 

Police Chief Agustin Dovalina stated that the vehicles abandoned on a right-of-way are taken care of by the Laredo Police Department.  Once they are tagged by a police officer, the vehicle owner has 72 hours to remove the vehicle or it will be towed away.   He mentioned that the problem involving vehicles parked in private residential lots is a different story.  In those situations, code enforcement officers should be able to address that problem. 

 

Cm. Galo inquired whether the city could amend an ordinance to allow for some remedy wherein the city could fine the property owner for a repeated number of violations. 

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, stated that city staff would look into changing the existing ordinance to be able to address this continuous violation.

 

                             Cm. E. Valdez, Jr. requested a follow-up report in the next two to three months to see whether something could be done about this situation.

 

2.  Request for a traffic study at the intersection of Marcella and Bustamante, due to

the high incidence of accidents; to be followed by recommendation from the Traffic Department on what could be done to help remedy the problem.

 

Roberto Murillo, Traffic Department Director, reported that they have done a preliminary study of the location.  Based on his department’s assessment, he noticed that there was no visible obstruction at the intersection that would support the high incidence of accidents.  He mentioned that there could be minor accidents that go unreported and that is why they are not aware of them. 

 

                 E.  Request by Council Member Jose A. Valdez, Jr.

 

1.  Discussion with possible action on giving Officer Jose Luis Ramos an extension

     of one (1) year with pay for injury leave.

 

     Officer Ramos made reference to a letter addressed by Administrative Services Department dated December 21, 2000, which allows Officer Ramos one of two options.  He can either petition City Council to extend his injury leave with pay or he can apply for disability retirement benefits. 

 

     Mayor Flores commented that the City Council is authorized to extend his injury leave with pay.  She stated that the City Council would require an assurance from Officer Ramos that he can indeed return to work following the year extension.  She also mentioned that Officer Ramos might consider the second option which allows for payment of disability retirement benefits.  Mayor Flores posed the question to Officer Ramos whether he believes that he will be returning to work in a year. 

 

     Officer Ramos replied that that is his intention.

 

     Dan Migura, Administrative Services Department Director, provided a history of the particulars in connection with this employee request.  He mentioned that Officer Ramos has been with the City of Laredo for 26 years, 3 months.  He was injured on August 12, 1999, as a result of lifting some boxes.  He further stated that the extent of his injury has created some concerns for the employee as far as being able to return to work at this time.  He continued on full pay status and injury leave with pay up until November 16, 2000, at which time the City of Laredo fulfilled its requirement of paying out one year of additional pay in keeping with the Local Government Code provisions.  Additionally, he has been receiving workers’ compensation payments which total about 75 % of his pay.  He stated that in order for the City of Laredo to continue to reimburse an eligible employee at 100 % would require that the employee return the 75 % to offset some of the expenditures covered on those injuries.  He was placed under the Return to Work program and Officer Ramos did return to work with modified duty for approximately 60 days which is the standard time in place for the modified duty program.

 

     The Administrative Services Department received a letter from Dr. Cantu on February 2, 2001, stating that Officer Ramos can no longer perform the duties required of a police officer.  Mr. Migura commented that the City has no reason to believe that this prognosis will change.  He further stated that Officer Ramos has also received an impairment rating from the workers’ compensation group which indicates that he is not fully capable of carrying out peace officer duties as required.  He is currently exhausting his own leave time working through both his sick leave and annual leave accruals.  He has approximately 21 ½ days of leave remaining according to personnel records.  Mr. Migura stated that he has spoken to City Manager Larry Dovalina and Assistant City Manager Cynthia Collazo and following exploration of all possibilities, the consensus would be for Officer Ramos to consider one of several options:  1) to look for employment, other than civil service employment, in a different department; 2) to consider applying for retirement since he is eligible for regular retirement following 26 years and 3 months of service with the City; 3) to pursue disability retirement being that it would be beneficial because he may qualify for Social Security disability benefits as well; or 4) for City Council to extend this injury leave for an additional period of time.  Mr. Migura is recommending that City Council should make some type of provision at this time because Officer Ramos is looking at 21 ½ days remaining of leave with pay.  His recommendation would be to provide for one to three months and that would allow him to pursue the retirement option and not have any kind of break in income.

 

     Mayor Flores stated that the reason for Cm. J. Valdez, Jr. bringing this item up for discussion is because Officer Ramos does not want to pursue any of the options that have been proposed.

 

     Cm. J. Valdez, Jr. inquired as to the doctor’s assessment on Officer Ramos’ injuries and what was the basis for the doctor making this prognosis of continued disability.

 

     Officer Ramos mentioned that his doctor does not concur with the City of Laredo policy.  He stated that the doctor did designate a 5 % impairment with restrictions.  He further stated that his doctor did authorize his return to work, but the Risk Management Department did not approve the request to return to work due to the restrictions imposed.  He spoke to his doctor on this matter who stated that he has not had adequate time for his injuries to improve.  He also commented that he was placed under modified duties at the beginning when his injuries were recent.  He believed that this modified duty should have been assigned toward the end of the year rather than at the beginning of the year.

 

Motion that the City extend one additional year of injury leave with pay to allow Officer Ramos the additional time needed for full recovery.

 

Moved:  Cm. J. Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Cm. Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

Cm. Galo recommended that this additional pay be approved for a shorter period of time.  He agreed with Mr. Migura’s suggestion which would require that the doctor provide the City of Laredo with feedback to ensure that the Administrative Services Department and the doctor are in agreement as to the most favorable arrangement for this employee.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, recommended that the Administrative Services Department request another doctor’s opinion and to tie this in to the motion that there be some reasonable expectation that the officer will be able to return to work.  At the moment, there is a question whether he will, after taking off another year, be able to return to work.  He also recommended that the officer undergo another examination by a different doctor. 

 

Cm. J. Valdez, Jr. amended his motion to make it six months and after the six-month interval, it will be reviewed by City Council once more and to have another doctor examine his injuries.

 

Moved:  Cm. Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Cm. Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

Motion to have Officer Ramos’ sick leave and annual leave restored as of December 23, 2000, to the present.

 

Moved:  Cm. Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

 

Cm. Galo inquired as to what action will be taken should, following the six-month extension, the doctor determines that he is still physically impaired and he does not release Officer Ramos for return to full duty.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, stated that the City Council should explore the legality of this request for restoration of sick leave and injury leave.

 

Cm. Valdez, Jr. withdrew his motion pending review by City Manager’s staff to explore the legality of such a request.

 

      F.  Request by Council Member Juan Ramirez

 

1.  Discussion with possible action regarding the brush clean up by the river, mainly

     between Main Ave. and San Francisco Ave.

 

     Cm. Ramirez mentioned that this area was never cleared of cut tree limbs and brush and is susceptible to fires.  He mentioned that city crews went out there years ago to cut those branches but they never did remove them. 

 

     Erasmo Villarreal, Community Development Director, reported that this area does not have a private owner -- it is city-owned property. 

 

     Larry Dovalina, City Manager, mentioned that one and one-half years ago, the City of Laredo had a problem with a sewer leak coming in through a drainpipe.  The area was cleared, several trees were cut, and branches were picked up by a city crew.  He stated that 120 tons of debris was picked up from that area.  He mentioned that the City is in the process of putting up a retaining wall on the backside of Water St. so that the whole bank on the north side does not come down. 

 

     Mayor Flores inquired whether the department is planning to have the retaining wall set up to be aesthetically pleasing.  She does not want something that will look unattractive for the area residents.

 

     Riazul Mia, Environmental Services Department, stated that the problem with the dumping is that the City of Laredo does not have enough enforcement personnel to issue citations. 

 

2.  Discussion with possible action to install sidewalks at the 1800 - 1900 blocks of

     San Francisco Ave. on the east and west sides of the street.

 

     Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer, stated that his department has taken a cursory survey of the area and they will be working toward installing sidewalks in that area.  He stated that there is a list being compiled for this coming year by Erasmo Villarreal, Community Development Director.  They also have four contracts that are coming in on February 20, 2001, for an award on sidewalk projects.  He stated that these blocks could be placed on the new list or perhaps added on as a change order to the existing list if so directed.  He mentioned that the cost involved is approximately $34,000.00. 

 

     Motion to approve these blocks for sidewalk installation and to secure the necessary funding for it.

 

     Moved:  Cm. Ramirez

     Second:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

                

                             Mayor Flores stated that a motion was not necessary and that these blocks would be added to the sidewalk project list.

 

IX.       INTRODUCTORY ORDINANCES

 

4.  An ordinance authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with Laredo Webb County

American Red Cross for approximately 491 square feet constituting Suite No. 2 of Building No. S-1 located at 1718 E. Calton Road at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for one (1) year commencing on February 1, 2001 and ending on January 31, 2002, and may be extended for one (1) year ending on January 31, 2003.  However, it is agreed by the parties that the lease may be terminated by either party on not less than thirty (30) days' written notice from the party terminating to the other.  Monthly rent shall be $315.00 and will be adjusted annually during the primary and extension term of this lease according to changes in the Consumer Price Index; providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

5.  An ordinance authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with FedJones, L.L.C., for

Tract 8 of the Subdivision Plat of the Laredo Passenger Terminal Subdivision containing approximately 2.82 acres at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for forty (40) years commencing on March 1, 2001 and ending on February 28, 2041.  Monthly rent shall be $1,740.25 and will be adjusted annually according to changes in the Consumer Price Index not to exceed 2.5% per year and further adjusted at every 10th anniversary by Fair Market Value appraisal; providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

6.  An ordinance authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with Region One

Education Service Center for approximately 4,234 square feet constituting Building No. 1054 located at 4812 North Bartlett Avenue at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for one (1) year commencing on February 1, 2001 and ending on January 31, 2002, and may be extended for one (1) year ending on January 31, 2003. However, it is agreed by the parties that the lease may be terminated by either party on not less than thirty (30) days' written notice from the party terminating to the other.  Monthly rent shall be $3,960.00 and will be adjusted annually during the primary and extension term of this lease according to changes in the Consumer Price Index; providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

7.  An ordinance authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with Region One

Education Service Center for Tract 2, Block 9 of the Subdivision Plat of Laredo Airport containing approximately 10,562 square feet constituting Building No. 979 located at 4717 Daugherty Avenue at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for one (1) year commencing on December 1, 2000 and ending on November 30, 2001.  However, it is agreed by the parties that the lease may be terminated by either party on not less than thirty (30) days' written notice from the party terminating to the other.  Monthly rent shall be $4,525.00; providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

8.  An ordinance amending the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances, Chapter 28, Article III,

Division 2, entitled Rental Rates for Facility, Personnel and Equipment; specifically §28-86, definitions by clarifying, adding and deleting terms; also §28-87, Rates and Fees, by increasing rental rates for Civic Center Facilities and equipment, and establishing rates for the Auditorium Lobby, grounds, rehearsal and move-in/move-out activities, and merchandise sales; providing for severability and effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

X.        FINAL READINGS OF ORDINANCES 

 

            Internet available: //wwwcityoflaredo.com

 

Motion to waive the final reading of ordinances 2001-O-030, 2001-O-031, 2001-O-032, 2001-O-033, 2001-O-034, 2001-O-035, 2001-O-036, 2001-O-037 and 2001-O-039.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

9.  2001-O-030  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by

authorizing the issuance of a Special Use Permit for a plug back and recompletion of Richter No. 1 gas well on 2.0 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located north of Masterson Rd. and west of Hwy. 83; providing for publication and effective date. (As Amended)  (Council Member Alfredo Agredano)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-030.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm  Galo

For:     8                                Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

           

                 2001-O-031  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by

   authorizing the issuance of a Special Use Permit for a plug back and

   recompletion of Ervin #1 gas well on 3.0 acres, as further described by

   metes and bounds, located south of Riverhill Drive and west of Hwy. 83;

   providing for publication and effective date. (As Amended)  (Council

   Member Louis H. Bruni)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-031.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

   For:     8                                Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

2001-O-032  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by

authorizing the issuance of a Special Use Permit for a plug back and recompletion of H.B. Zachry Unit #2 gas well of 5.0 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located east of Hwy. 83 and south of Southgate Blvd.; providing for publication and effective date. (As Amended)  (Council Member Louis H. Bruni)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-032.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

2001-O-033  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by

authorizing the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit for an Adult Day Care Center on Lots 4, 5 and 6, Block 794, Eastern Division, located at 1419 Market St.; providing for publication and effective date. (As Amended) (Council Member John C. Galo)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-033.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

           

2001-O-0034  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by rezoning

Lot 1, Block 1, Eagle Ridge Subdivision, located on the northeast corner of Country Club Dr. and McPherson Rd., from RSM (Residential Suburban Multi-Family District) to R-2 (Multi-Family Residential District); providing for publication and effective date. (Mayor Pro-Tempore Joe A. Guerra)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-034.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

           

2001-O-035  Amending the Zoning Ordinance (Map) of the City of Laredo by rezoning

3.206 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located on the southwest corner of Bartlett Ave. and Jacaman Rd., from R-1 (Single Family Residential District) to B-3 (Community Business District); providing for publication and effective date. (As Amended) (Council Member John C. Galo)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-035.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

                 2001-O-036  Amending sections of the Laredo Land Development Code pertaining to

   manufactured housing, specifically Section 24.63.3, Non-Conforming Uses

   or Buildings; Section 24.63.2, Permitted Uses; Section 24.65.7, R-3 Mixed

   Residential District; Section 24.65.6, R-1 MH Single Family Manufactured

   Housing District; Section 24.77.1, Dimensional Standards; Section 24.93.2,

   Manufactured Housing Park; and Appendix A; providing for publication

   and effective date.  (As Amended)   (City Council)

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-036.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

2001-O-037  Amending Subsection 24-84.5(a) Exceptions, of Section 24.84 Sidewalk

Standards of the Laredo Land Development Code; providing for publication and effective date.  (City Council)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-037.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

                 2001-O-039  Amending Chapter 19, Motor Vehicle and Traffic, Article VIII. Stopping,

   Standing or Parking of the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances, specifically

   creating Section 19-361 Parking Meters. Secured Controlled Access

   Parking Lots and Section 19-362, Parking Lot Rates and Hours of

   Operation and providing for publication and effective date. (City Council)

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2001-O-039.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:      8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0       

 

XI.       RESOLUTIONS

 

10.  2001-R-010  A resolution authorizing the issuance of a permit for a plug back and

recompletion of Ervin #1A gas well on 3.0 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located south of Riverhill Dr. and west of Hwy. 83.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-010.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

11.  2001-R-011  A resolution urging the U. S. Department of Transportation and the

Federal Aviation Administration to re-designate the Laredo International Airport for participation in the Military Airport Program (MAP) for a subsequent five-year period commencing during FY 2001 and authorizing the City Manager to submit an application for re-designation.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-011.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

12.  2001-R-012  A resolution authorizing the use of surplus proceeds from the City of

Laredo - Public Property Finance Contractual Obligations (PPFCO), Series 2000, in the amount of $4,812.00 for the purchase of a Hurst Airbag Rescue System.  This equipment will be assigned to the new ambulance recently activated for Fire Station No. 11.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-012.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

13.  2001-R-013  A resolution supporting the Texas Airport Management Association in its

efforts to increase State of Texas funding for airport development and urging the 77th Legislature of the State of Texas to appropriate the sum of $20.0 million to be used by the Texas Department of Transportation to make loans to airport sponsors in the State of Texas as authorized by Chapter 21 of the Texas Transportation Code.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-013.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

14.  2001-R-015  A resolution authorizing the issuance of a permit for a plug back and

recompletion of Richter No. 1 gas well on 2.0 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located north of Masterson Rd. and west of Hwy. 83.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-015.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

15.  2001-R-016  A resolution authorizing the issuance of a permit for a plug back and

recompletion of H.B. Zachry Unit #2 gas well on 5.0 acres, as further described by metes and bounds, located east of Hwy. 83 and south of Southgate Blvd.

 

Motion to approve Resolution 2001-R-016.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                               Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

XII.     MOTIONS

 

16.  Consideration to authorize the purchase of two police interceptors for the Police

Department through the Houston Galveston Area Council of Governments (HGAC) - Cooperative Purchasing Program, in the amount of $42,267.63.  These vehicles will be assigned to the Laredo Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force.  Delivery of these two vehicles is expected within thirty days.  Funding for the purchase of these vehicles is available from the Police Narcotics Grant Fund.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

17.  Consideration to award a contract to the SOLE PROVIDER, Timesoft, Long Beach,

CA., in the total amount of $24,270.00, for providing automated time recorder equipment and software.  The City is currently utilizing this system for City Hall, Health Department, and Bridge System personnel and is expanding the use of automated time recording for the Public Works Service Center, Solid Waste Center, and Utilities Department sites.  Funding is available in the respective department's budgets. 

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

18.  Consideration to award contract number FY01-025, to TechTel Communications d/b/a

Laredo Telephone Company, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated amount of $30,000.00, for providing long distance service for all city departments.  The contract will be for a period of two years.  TechTel Communications is offering a competitive rate structure, easy access for international calls, an account code structure, and the ability to service the City locally.  The new rate structure will result in savings of up to 50% to 60% from our current domestic and international rate structure.  Funding is available in the Communications line item budgets for the respective departments.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

19.  Consideration to award contract number FY01-026, a twelve-month office supply

contract to the LOW BIDDERS, Executive World, Laredo, Texas and Office Depot, Laredo, Texas for providing general office supplies for all city departments.  This contract is based on the lowest cost format utilizing a published price for city orders.  Department will be able to order from the vendor's general catalogues.  Funding is available in the office supply line item budgets for the respective departments.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

20.  Consideration to award contract number FY01-046, to the SOLE BIDDER, Library

Interiors of Texas, Bastrop, Texas, in the amount of $19,858.60, for the purchase and installation of twenty, furniture workstations for the Main Library.  Funding is available in the Library budget.  

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

21.  Consideration to award contract number FY01-048, to the LOW BIDDER, Hillside

Nursery, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated amount of $105,000.00, for providing monthly mowing and maintenance of the Zacate Creek areas from Meadow and Canal Streets to the mouth of the river.  This includes the collection of trash, debris, rubbish and other floatable materials along the creek.  The contract will be monitored by the Engineering Department's - N.P.D.E.S. Division.  Funding is available in the N.P.D.E.S. Budget.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

22.  Consideration to award construction contract number FY01-044, to the LOWEST

RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, Air Weld Inc., of Laredo, Texas, in the amount of $34,876.00 for The Sacred Heart Children's Home Rehabilitation located at 3310 South Zapata Highway.  The major work to be done consists of the installation of 131 2'X4' fluorescent light fixtures and the construction of 24 closets.  Funding is available from Emergency Shelter Grant funds from the 25th Action Year - Community Development Budget.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

23.  Consideration for approval of final Change Order No. 1, an increase of $7,437.00 for

the balance of quantities actually constructed in place, acceptance of the Zacate Creek Beautification Project Phase II and approval of final payment in the amount of $22,071.40 to Ramos Industries, Inc., Pasadena, Texas.  Final contract amount is $153,781.00.  Funding is available in the Community Development 24th Action Year CD Projects/Zacate Creek Park.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

24.  Consideration to approve amendment no. 1 an increase of $24,000.00 to the

engineering contract with Brown & Root, Inc., Houston, Texas, for the Laredo International Bridge I Strengthening Project for additional engineering services to design and prepare plans and specifications for removal of the existing roadway asphalt, structural inspection of the concrete sub-surface slab and overlay with concrete the US side of the Bridge II.  Funding is available in the Bridge System Purchased Professional Services.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

25.  Consideration to award a construction contract to the SOLE BIDDER Cutler

Construction Co., Lawrence, Kansas, in the amount of $315,329.70 for the 2000-2001 Street Recycling Project (133.5 Blocks).  Funding is available in the Capital Improvement Fund Street Materials/Cutler Repaving.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

                   

26.  Consideration to authorize the City Manager to execute a Development Agreement and

an Operating Agreement with Arena Ventures, L.L.C., related to the Laredo Entertainment Center.

 

Mr. Carl Hirsch, with Stafford Sports, reported on the status changes to the contract  based on input provided from Council Members at last Thursday’s meeting.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Bruni

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     7                                        Against:  1                                            Abstain:  0

                                                     Cm.  Ramirez

 

27.  Consideration to authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract agreement with the

Texas Department of Transportation for the Weigh-in-Motion Project on Bridge IV and Colombia Bridge.  The U.S. Congress and the Federal Highway Administration approved $1,000,000.00 in Discretionary Funds through the FY 2000 Border-Corridor Discretionary Program.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  E.  Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against: 0                                             Abstain:  0

 

28.  Consideration to approve a five-year professional service contract with First Southwest

Asset Management Company to perform the arbitrage rebate calculations services for all of the City's tax-exempt bond issues.  Pursuant to provisions of Section 148(f)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 the City is required to determine whether or not a rebate of investment earnings will be required to be made to the United States of America in connection with the sale and delivery of tax-exempt bond issues.  Contract may be terminated with or without cause by either party upon thirty days' notice.  Funding for the fees will be funded from interest earnings of the respective bond issues.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  E.  Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against: 0                                             Abstain:  0

29.  Consideration to amend a contact with Laredo Development Foundation for economic

development services to include governmental relations and legislative services for fiscal year 2000-2001 for an amount not to exceed $72,400.00.  The total amount of the contract will be $357,400.00.  Funding is available in the General Fund.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  E. Valdez, Jr.

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     5                                        Against:  4                                            Abstain:  0

                   Cm.  Agredano                              Cm.  Bruni

                   Cm.  Amaya                                  Cm.  Galo

                   Cm.  E.  Valdez,  Jr.                      Cm.  J.  Valdez, Jr.

                   Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra          Cm.  Ramirez

 

                   Mayor Flores voted in favor to break the tie.

 

XIII.    STAFF REPORT

           

30.  Presentation by Frank Architects, Inc. on the Gateway to the Americas Bridge (Bridge

       I) Access, Export Lot & Parking Lot Modifications.

 

Frank Rotnofsky, from Frank Architects, Inc., gave a presentation on the status of the project highlighting major items of improvements.  He stated that the project is a critically important starting point serving as an opportunity to redevelop the riverfront and take back our heritage.  The fundamentals for this project takes into account the countless pedestrians that cross in front of vehicles trying to reach Bridge I.  Their perspective includes separating people from the vehicular traffic through a new pedestrian route as they walk toward Bridge I.  The parameters for this project cover the area east of the U.S. Customs House to Santa Maria Ave. and working from Juarez Ave. down to the area in front of Los Dos Laredos Park.

 

31.  Presentation of the 1999-2000 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)

prepared by the City of Laredo's Financial Services Department and audited by the independent audit firm of Garza, Martinez, & Co., P.L.L.C.

 

Raul Garza, from Garza, Martinez, & Co., P.L.L.C., made the presentation before City  Council.  He mentioned that the City exceeded the expected operational performance.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, commended the firm for the exceptional work done and the expediency with which they completed the auditing work.  He further stated that on the city’s fund balances, the City of Laredo did increase its General Fund up to $12,267,000.00 reflecting a 3% increase.  He also noted increases in other city funds. The Special Revenue Fund increased by $1,000,000.00; the Debt Service Fund increased by $144,000.00; the Enterprise Fund increased by $31,000,000.00; the city’s Trust and Agency accounts increased by $7,000,000.00; the General Fixed Asset account increased by $20,000,000.00.  He concluded that all these increases reflect a total positive fund balance increase of over $60,000,000.00. 

 

Rosario Cabello, Finance Director, stated that the annual report, which is performed by an independent certified public accounting firm, is forwarded to City Council, governmental entities, rating agencies, City department directors and the general public. 

She added that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report consists of the following

parts:

 

     1.  The Introductory Section which include the transmittal letter.

    2.  The Financial Section.

     3.  The Statistical Section.

     4.  The Single Audit Section.

 

        Motion to accept the 1999-2000 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

 

        Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Guerra

                    Second:  Cm. E. Valdez, Jr.

                    For:     8                                       Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

32.  Presentation by the City Manager on the Economic Feasibility and Impact Study

       conducted by McCray Research regarding a Fifth International Bridge Crossing.

 

Ronnie Acosta, Grants Administrator, stated that the firm of McCray Research compiled an independent analysis addressing the issues related to the current level of service at Laredo’s four bridges; the viability of the fifth bridge; the impact on the local bridge system and the local economy; and the pros and cons of a Laredo & Webb County joint fifth bridge sponsorship. 

 

There are four major points in the study that are highlighted.  One is that, based on the analysis of peak bridge traffic, it is evident that another bridge is necessary to accommodate the projected traffic increase in future years.  The study currently estimates delays to be at 20 minutes and these delays are projected to go to 30 minutes by 2004, and to 40 minutes by 2006.  The study stressed that infrastructure development would be less costly and it would be easier to plan in terms of infrastructure if the bridge would be nearer to the outer loop.  In terms of revenues, it noted that the new facility would take time to reach a point where revenue streams from the facility are able to fully meet the bond repayment schedule without support from the bridge system itself.  In terms of joint partnership, the study noted that the joint partnership shares the costs but not necessarily the risks.  The revenue sharing that would emerge from a city-county sponsorship may not necessarily reflect the true financial contributions of each of the parties.  Also, that a city-county partnership would provide for a more complicated system of administration and operations. 

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, read a memo dated February 3, 2001, from Peter M. Tart, Bond Attorney, related to the issue of outstanding revenue bonds:

 

This memo is in response to your question as to the construction of a Joint Laredo Fifth Bridge between the City and the County.  The City has an International Toll Bridge System (“System”) in which all four of the bridges of the City of Laredo are a part of the System.  In addition, the City has covenanted that it will not permit the acquisition, construction or operation of a competing bridge with the City’s System.  Consequently, the City could not participate in a joint City-County Toll Bridge which would be in competition with the existing System as long as the System has outstanding bond indebtedness.

 

The City refunded all of its outstanding Toll Bridge System Revenue Bonds in 1966 in order to provide that additional toll bridges may be financed through the State of Texas or the United States of America by which title to those bridges may actually be with the State or Federal Government.  The SIB loan with TxDot was financed through the System in accordance with this revised definition of System.  The SIB loan with TxDot is payable from the surplus revenues of the Bridge System.  The definition of “System” would not permit the joint ownership of a bridge with the County.  In addition, Chapter 367 of the Transportation Code would need to be specifically amended to permit the City to enter into contracts with the County.

 

In reviewing the current Bond Ordinances and state law, it would indicate that the City and the County could not have a formal relationship as to joint ownership of the fifth bridge.  However, an interlocal government contract might be able to be developed in reference to a proviso regarding surplus revenues of the System after the necessary payments to TxDot and to the City of Laredo.” 

 

Cm. E. Valdez, Jr. inquired whether we are considering designating this bridge as a commuter bridge or a commuter/commercial bridge.

 

Cynthia Collazo, Assistant City Manager, replied that the city is looking at pedestrian and non-commercial traffic.  The federal agencies have already stated that they have invested a great deal of money in the World Trade Bridge, and, therefore, they are not willing to support another bridge for commercial traffic. 

 

Mayor Flores mentioned that there was a stipulation that was discussed in planning for the fifth bridge that stated it would be completely pedestrian and non-commercial until that time when the city might find it necessary to consider it for commercial use.  She stated that whether this City Council works toward that end or it falls on some City Council in the future, the City has to be sure this bridge is set up for commercial traffic to avoid the distressing situations that developed on Bridges I and II.

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, stated that the areas that are being considered are relatively undeveloped so this would not be an issue as far as acquisition of land is concerned.

 

Mayor Flores stated that she liked the comments in the study that stated:  If you are going to divert traffic from Bridges I and II, then the vehicular traffic that crosses for tourism, shopping, etc., needs to be closer in proximity to the inner city.  She commented that this is an important point that City Council did not consider. 

 

Larry Dovalina stated that there are two different population bases, both in Rio Bravo and El Cenizo, that are potential users of the bridge and in that respect it would be reaching a different population center.   He reminded City Council that in terms of the amount of time it would take to construct a new bridge, it is important to keep in mind that selection of a site that is too close to the population base would create the same issues that the City is seeking to avoid.  He mentioned a number of projects that are in the works, i.e., Mangana Hein Road, the new Laredo Community College campus, the Cielito Lindo development, which will accelerate growth in that area.

 

Motion to accept the Economic Feasibility and Impact Study by McCray Research and to instruct staff to proceed with the filing and preparation of the necessary documentation to apply for the bridge permit.

 

Moved:  Cm. Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Bruni

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

Mayor Flores added that the City Manager should schedule a presentation before Webb County to make them aware of the decisions made by the City Council.

 

33.  Presentation by Olga Maldonado, for American Electric Power on the maintenance of

       streetlight and current Senate Bill 7 status on competitive services (i.e. Streetlights).

 

Olga Maldonado, General Manager of Community Services for American Electric Power, made a presentation on the repair and replacement of streetlights and current Senate Bill 7 status on competitive services. 

 

She mentioned that the City has been working with them in identifying streetlights that are out and processing those requests through the service department.  One task that has not been done is heighten awareness of people reporting lighting problems.  Also, a topic of discussion among the managers has been the company’s need to identify the phone numbers for designation as Spanish-speaking service lines on the public access channel and the radio stations as well.  She also provided City Council with an update on lighting maintenance and their procedures for identifying lighting into different categories.  She mentioned that they are allowed to provide lighting for institutions such as cities, counties, and universities as well as residential customers.  She also stated that they have been asked as of September of last year to stop providing lighting for any new customers and for all existing customers they are required to phase out by January, 2002.  The main purpose for her coming before City Council is to ask for a five-year extension on the existing customers being that they have numerous customers and need additional time in order to phase out of that market.  At this point in time, they still do not have a Public Utility Commission approval on the current discussions.  Their discussions have basically all of the intervenors signing off with the exception of the cities’ group which the cities have indicated they do not oppose.  The point where they find themselves at is that they will continue to provide lighting for existing customers.  By the middle of next year, they will do an inventory of all of their lights and they will inform those customers that have those lights that they can purchase them, if they so wish.  They will also look at the possibility of selling those lights to a third party.  By January, 2004, they will file with the Public Utility Commission regarding their status on the sale of the facilities.  Then, they would ask the commission for an exemption in order to continue to provide lighting for non-roadway customers, or else provide an explanation why that is not a possibility.  At this point in time, they are still at the discussion stage -- there has not been a final determination made.  For existing customers they would like to continue to provide their service, but they will make the facilities available for sale to them.  If they are not willing to purchase the facilities at a certain point in time, they will then respond to the commission by 2004 with their status.

 

Mayor Flores inquired as to the cost involved for the customers.

 

Olga Maldonado responded that what they have proposed on the discussion settlement is 50 % of replacement value, which could be adjusted as necessary for any unusual circumstances. 

 

Cm. Galo inquired as to who would continue to take on the task of the street light maintenance on behalf of the commission.

 

Olga Maldonado replied that they would continue to handle the street light maintenance.

 

34.  Status report on the construction of the Skate Park.

 

       John Viduarri, Parks & Recreation Director, stated that the project was intended to be a 60-day project.  Due to the inclement weather, the contractor was provided with some rainy day credits which extended the construction completion date through March 1, 2001.   He stated that they just received a report that the contractor poured concrete for curb and gutter for the parking lot area and is expected to do some backfilling this week.  He mentioned that there is still some subgrade work that remains to be done for the parking lot area which the contractor is currently working on.  They expect that by week’s end there will be some significant progress toward completion of the project.

 

XIV.  EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

The City Council hereby reserves the right to go into executive session at any time during this public meeting, when it deems it necessary to consult privately with its attorney about any item upon this agenda, pursuant to the provisions of Section 551.071(2) of the Texas Government Code.

XVII.   ADJOURNMENT

 

            Motion to adjourn.                                                                               TIME:  9:25 p.m.

 

            Moved:  Cm.  Galo

            Second:  Cm.  E.  Valdez, Jr.

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

 

I hereby certify that the above minutes contained in pages 01 through 30 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the City Council meeting held on February 5, 2001.

 

 

 

                                                                        ______________________________________

                                                                        GUSTAVO GUEVARA, JR.

                                                                        CITY SECRETARY