CITY COUNCIL ANNUAL BUDGET WORKSHOP

                         FOR PROPOSED FISCAL YEAR 2001-2002 BUDGET


                                               CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

                                                   1110 HOUSTON STREET

                                                          LAREDO, TEXAS


                                            WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2001


I.          Call to order


            With a quorum present, Mayor 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.,                                                         Mayor Pro Tempore, District V

            Joe A.  Guerra,                                                             Council Member, 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.       Proposed Annual Budget Workshop for FY2001-2002


            a.  Review and present FY 2001- 2002 Proposed Annual Budget


            I.  Introduction and welcoming remarks


                Larry Dovalina, City Manager


                        A.  Budget Process/Vision & Goals


                              Mr. Dovalina reported that the bridge revenues will be $2,000,000 under budget, but the City will still end up with a healthy fund balance.  He also recognized the Budget Department for its recognition by the GFOA for receiving the Award of Excellence for its previous budget presentation.  He mentioned that in spite of the shortfall in bridge revenues, the City has been tightening its budget as it noticed what was occurring and the City is predicting to finish the year with a healthy fund balance.   The summary of the budget generally goes through the different goals and timelines as established by City Council over a five-year period.  He reported that the overall budget amount is approximately $269,000,000.   The budget as presented to the Mayor, except with the one amendment to be made as far as projecting of bridge revenues, is basically balanced, without a tax increase, continues the services to the city, and provides for expansion of services available from the City. 


                              He emphasized that the needs of the City must continued to be met


                        B.  Update of Current Bond Projects


            C.  Proposed New Personnel


                              There are 63 positions in the new budget, 29 of which are being re-identified. There are actually only 34 new positions within the City.


            II.  City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY2001-2002


                        D.  Ad-Valorem Tax Rate

                              Phyllis Colon


                              The Webb County Appraisal District appraises all property in the City as of January 1st and grants all exemptions.  In July, they certified the appraisal roll to the City to be used to develop the Tax Roll.  The market value for each property less the exemptions is the taxable value we will use for the tax statements.


The effective tax rate is the rate it would take to produce the same tax levy as last year and is used to establish the rate to be adopted this year.  The rate is broken down into two sections and each part is calculated separately.  The first part is the debt service rate that must cover the payment for the principle, interest, and other related charges. 


The second part is the maintenance and operation rate that is used to finance the day-to-day operation for the general fund.  This year staff is recommending that we adopt the same actual rate as last year of $0.576358 per $100.00 to finance the budget that will be presented to you.  The property owner will pay the same amount of city tax this year as last year if their value stayed the same.  The certified collection rate is 95.5% for the current year.  We will need a motion to set a public hearing for the tax rate. 


                              Motion setting a Public Hearing for a rate of $0.576358 per $100 on September 4, 2001, at 5:30 p.m. in the City of Laredo Council Chambers.


                              Moved:  Cm. Guerra

                              Second:  Cm. Galo

                              For:    8                                          Against:  0                                Abstain:  0


            E.  Debt Service Review

                             Rosario Cabello, Financial Services Director


                              Noe Hinojosa, Financial Consultant with Estrada & Hinojosa, made the presentation before City Council.   He went over the City’s debt obligation, service requirements, etc., and prompt payment being made on its obligations by leveraging some of the excesses generated under the CIF.


                        F.  Personnel Issues

                             Dan Migura, Administrative Services Director


                                    1.  Presentation of Proposed Employee Pay Plan


                                                                          Proposed Pay Plan Adjustment


q       3 % cost of living adjustment (COLA) for an effective date of 10/01/2001 to all employees, except unless otherwise addressed in a collective bargaining agreement


q       Retain the current merit pay plan


                                     Merit Distribution


Percentage                  Evaluation                            Evaluations

  Increase                         Score                               Processed


   0 %                          

2.9 or less consistently below standard



   1 %

3.0 –3.49 occasionally below standard


   2 %

3.5 – 3.99 meets all standards



   3 %

4.0 – 4.49 occasionally exceeds standards


   4 %

4.5 – 5.0 consistently exceeds standards




based on 987 annual performance evaluations received between 10-01-00 and 08-01-01
















Motion to grant City employees one floating (or personal) holiday.


Moved:  Cm. Amaya

Second:  Cm. Bruni

For:    8                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0





Motion to continue with the 3% increase to the employee pay plan and to continue with the current merit pay plan.


Moved:  Cm. Galo

Second:  Cm. Amaya

For:    8                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0


                                    2.  Presentation of Proposed Employee Health and Benefits Plan


                                                          Proposed Employee Health Benefits Plan


q       Adjust physician co-payment

q       Adjust prescription co-payment

q       Adjust medical contribution rate by 20%

q       Implement an expanded employee assistance program




Escalating medical and prescription cost trends continue to deplete the

City’s Health and Benefits Pool.


Since the Plan was implemented in 1989, the following modifications have occurred:


q       1991 rate adjustment

q       1996 $10.00 physician office co-payment introduced

q       October, 2000  10% rate increase


Proposed Adjusted Physician Co-Payment


Current Plan                                 Proposed Plan


$10.00 physician                                    $20.00 non-specialized

office visit                                                 physician


                                                                $35.00 specialized



                            Prescription Plan Modification

                                       Retail Pharmacy


                                Current             Proposed


Generic                    $  6.00                         $  6.00

Brand Name            $12.00                         $25.00


                                           Mail Order


Generic                    $  7.00                         $  7.00

Brand Name            $14.00                         $20.00

                    Proposed Dependent Medical Contribution


                                Current             Proposed


Regular                    $72.06                         $86.47



Civil Service $64.85                         $77.82



          Proposed Expanded Employee Assistance Program (EAP)


q       Available to employees and their dependents September 1, 2001

q       Attend six sessions per occurrence per dependent for:

§         drug and alcohol dependency

§         stress management

§         family counseling

§         parenting

§         marital counseling

§         grief management

q       No cost to the employee

q       $1.65 per employee / per month paid by the City

q       Services are available locally


Motion to increase the employee co-payments on the physicians’ visits, prescriptions, and to adjust the medical contribution rate by 20%.


                                       Moved:  Cm. Galo

                              Second:  Cm. Amaya

                              For:    8                              Against:  0                                Abstain:  0


                        G.  Proposed General Fund Highlights

                              Beto Ramirez, Budget Director


                              General Fund Highlights:


                              Property values have increased by 8% over the previous fiscal year. The tax rate proposed is $0.576358 per $100 valuation, which is the same as the previous year tax rate.


                              The proposed budget includes:  sixty-three (63) new positions.   These positions include:  (1) custodian – 1081 hours; (1) Street Cut Inspector; (1) Custodian –- 594 hours; (1) Heavy truck Driver; (1) Laborer; (2) Clerk III; (1) Warehouse Clerk; (2) Custodians; (2) Cement Finishers; (2) Plumbers; (1) Welder; (5) Groundskeepers; (10) Recreation Specialists – 1040 hours; (1) Groundskeeper – 1206 hours; (1) Clerk; (1) Micro Computer Specialist; (13) Office Clerks for Coop Program (530 hours each); (13) Playground Assistants for Coop Program; and (3) Administrative Interns. 



Other Funds:


One of the City’s primary strategies is to maintain a general fund balance that approximates 12 – 15% of total general expenditures.  The FY 01-02 budget proposes a 15.09% fund balance.


The budget proposes a merit pay plan which establishes and maintains a pay plan that attracts quality employees and retains high qualify performers.  This plan offers management more control over expenditures, reduce cost, offer more competitive salaries for new employees, and provide for a mechanism to reward high achievers at a higher rate.  Staff is recommending a 3% cost of living adjustment and a merit pay adjustment.


The City is projecting a $2,939,754 or 9.9% increase in toll receipts over the current fiscal year as a result of a proposed bridge toll increase of $0.25 to vehicular non-commercial traffic.  Budget includes funding for the following new positions:  (6) Bridge Officer Traffic; (1) Bridge Maintenance Worker; (1) Maintenance Crew Leader; (5) Grounds Keepers; (1) Bridge Cashier Superintendent.


Arena – The City issued a Sports and Community Venue Sales Tax Revenue Bond  in the amount of $39,315,000 which will be used for the construction of the Laredo Entertainment Center.


20 Patrol Officers will be transferred from Special Police Fund to General Fund.


New Environmental Services Fund comprised of engineering and hazard materials was initiated during the current fiscal year.


Motion Number







Motion to decrease the proposed Bridge Fund Toll Receipt revenues

by $875,315 due to decreases in expected revenues










Motion to decrease the proposed additional transfer-out to General Fund by $437,657 due to decreases in the Bridge Fund Toll Receipt revenues










Motion to decrease the proposed transfer-out to the Intrastructure Maintenance Fund by $437,658 due to decreases in the Bridge Fund Toll Receipts revenues










Motion to decrease the proposed opening balance in the Bridge Fund – Debt Service by $330,468 due to a decrease in SIB Reserves










Motion to decrease the proposed opening balance in the Capital Improvements Fund – Projects by $14,685 due to a change in SIB Reserves in the Bridge Fund










Motion to decrease the proposed Capital Improvements Fund-Projects reserve by $352,343 due to a decrease in the Bridge Fund Toll Receipt revenues










Motion to increase the proposed transfer-out to the Infrastructure Maintenance Fund by $437,658










Motion to decrease proposed Traffic Improvement Projects in the Capital Improvements Fund by $100,000 due to a decrease in the Bridge Fund Troll Receipt revenues










Motion to decrease the proposed transfer-in from the Bridge Fund to the Infrastructure Maintenance Fund by $437,658 due to a decrease in the Bridge Toll Receipt revenues










Motion to increase the proposed transfer-in from the Capital Improvements Fund-Projects by $437,658










Motion to decrease the proposed additional transfer-in from the Bridge fund to General Fund by $437,657 due to decreases in the Bridge Fund Toll Receipts revenues










Motion to increase a proposed transfer out from the Police Trust Fund to General Fund by $400,000 due to a one-time allowance for expenditures by the Department of Justice










Motion to increase a proposed transfer-in from the Police Trust Fund to the General Fund by $400,000 due to a one-time allowance for expenditures by the Dept. of Justice










                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Agredano

                        For:    8                                    Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0



                        H.  Environmental Services Department

                              Riazul Mia, Environmental Services Director


                              The Environmental Services Department was created in April, 2001.  The Department is a merger of the Environmental Engineering Division (formally with the Engineering Department) and the Hazmat Division (formally with the Fire Department).  The newly formed Environmental Services Department (ESD) was created to consolidate some of the functions of the above two divisions into one central department. 


The New Environmental Services Department consists of three divisions:  Administration, Storm Water, and Hazmat.


The Storm Water Division deals with issues involving water quality, watershed management, household hazardous waste issues, illegal dumping, and industrial storm water permits.


The Hazmat Division deals with commercial hazardous waste issues and the permitting of hazardous materials stored by local businesses.


Major Accomplishments FY 2000-2001


q       Established as a new department

q       Responded to 392 environmental complaints

q       Collected 25,000 lbs. of household hazardous waste

q       Inspected 2,380 inlets/manholes and cleaned 672 inlets

q       Stenciled 1,632 inlets

q       Cleaned 400 tons of litter from inlets/manholes and Zacate Creek

q       Issued 312 Hazmat permits

q       Master Planning for watershed

q       Inspected 465 outfalls for dry weather runoff

q       Conducted 18 environmental education training workshops

q       Had 45 pollution prevention plans approved

q       Issued 60 industrial storm water permits


                              1.  NPDES Operations


                              2.  Hazmat Operations


                        I.  Proposed FY2001-05 – Capital Improvement Program

                            Keith Selman, Planning Director


                                    1.  Presentation of Capital Improvement Program


                                          Motion calling for a public hearing on the Capital Improvement Program to be held at the first council meeting in September, 2001, by publishing of newspaper advertising for 10 consecutive days.



                                          Moved:  Cm. Bruni

                                          Second:  Cm. Galo

                                          For:     8                             Against:  0                                Abstain: 0


Motion to appropriate $85,000.00 for the Downtown Plaza Improvements project from the Mineral Leases Fund.


Moved:  Cm. Galo

Second:  Cm. Amaya

For:     8                             Against:  0                                Abstain:  0



V.        Adjourn                                                                                                    


            Motion to adjourn.                                                                                      Time:  9:00 p.m.


            Moved:  Cm. Bruni

            Second:  Cm. Agredano

            For:      8                                              Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0



I, Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary, hereby certify that the above minutes contained in pages 01 through 9 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the Annual Budget workshop held on the 15th day of August, 2001. 




                                                                                    Gustavo Guevara, Jr.

                                                                                    City Secretary