City of Laredo

Strategic Planning Workshop


Laredo National Bank

600 San Bernardo, 10th Floor

Laredo, Texas  78040

June 27, 2002

June 28, 2002, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

June 29, 2002, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


I.          Call to order


II.        Roll Call


            Strategic Planning Session moderated by Tyler St.  Clair, Weldon Cooper for Public     Service:  Friday, June 27, 2002.


            Working Breakfast


            Getting Common Ground:  Using Type to Enhance Working Relationships


            This session uses an inventory to help Council Members understand how they like to receive information, make decisions, and orient their lives.  These differences, used             effectively, can help the Mayor, Council, and staff members use their strengths collectively.


            The Power of Vision


            This session prepares the group for visioning and goal setting.


            Working Lunch


            Developing the City Council Vision


            Using a simple exercise, the Council will describe the long-range changes it would like to make in the City and the best aspects of it that they would like to retain.  From these, vision    themes can be developed that enjoy the consensus of the group.


            Developing Vision Principles


The Council will determine the policy positions that it would like to take in support of the vision.  Vision Principles state broad policies that provides a framework within which the Council can make decisions and provide broad policy direction for the staff. 


Saturday, June 28, 2002


Working Breakfast


Refining Vision Targets and Goals


Working Lunch


Developing Operating Guidelines


This session will be devoted to helping the Council define guidelines for Council/Council, Council/Mayor, and Council/Staff interaction.


Organizing for the Work to Come


The Council  will determine an action plan to follow up on the vision, vision, principles, goals and operating guidelines.  The Council will also evaluate the session.


A.  Tyler St.  Clair, Facilitator provided the following information:


Visioning Activity


Create a compelling image of the future of Laredo in 2020 by answering:


1. What is it about Laredo that we want to preserve/keep?


2. What is it about Laredo that we want to change?


Red Group


Betty Flores, Gene Belmares, Johnny Amaya, Jessica Hein




* Preserve downtown and our historical buildings

* Prominence in international trade

* Bridges

* Youth in Laredo - workforce

* River, greenspace, natural resources, Lake, creeks, water

* Growth rate

* Universities, educational system, community college

* Assets: Infrastructure, transportation available, geography, land, quality of life

* Keep and increase public-private partnerships and corporate citizenship

* Council/Manager form of government (charter)




* Increase amenities that contribute to quality of life (parks, entertainment)

* Outside perception of the City (i.e. Austin)

* Value-added jobs that provide good salaries, benefits, and upward mobility

* Clean city

* Educational system from K-16

* More business friendly community

* Staff perception of positions (citizens pay salaries)

* Community participation

* Perception of housing

* Increase availability of housing (public private partnerships, promote housing for lower 

   Income sector through ownership of land)

* Eliminate deterioration of inner city

* Revitalization of neighborhoods

* Increase economic development along the river

* Revitalization of downtown


* Relationship with metro government

* Park and recreation design (outside vs. inside; recreational and educational)

* Code enforcement under one roof with cross training

* Irrigation system installation

* Change Charter to clarify the job description and responsibilities of elected officials.

   Make the municipal court judge an appointed position as a mandate from Council.

* Funding for Council members (b/c Charter)

   - No staffing currently provided; see if staffing can serve the districts better

   - Use government students to answer phones to gain experience

* Consolidate all taxing agencies so that residents receive one statement

* Relocation of the Zacate wastewater treatment plant

* Eliminate odor problems coming from storm drain and illegal sewer line connections

* Riverfront development including parks, commercial attractions, shops

* Provide more funding to LDF

* SBDC providing education to small business owners helping create jobs

* Go after business value-added jobs


Blue Group


Hector Garcia, Alfredo Agredano, John Galo, Cindy Collazo




* Promote the City and market it for outside investors (diversification)

* Continue CNG or H2O safer efforts with technological improvements

* Training center should be at least 1000+ acres for runways, etc.

* Be at 50% in our recycling efforts

* Eliminate plastic and require biodegradable bags

* Add riverboat at Lake and redevelop recreational areas

* Theatres - add Spanish programming for the elderly (perhaps special showings life for  


* Riverfront development

* River Road - B5 to B1

* Middle age - new programming; summer programming

* Insure family values stay "small city" versus "large city"

* Find alternate WBCA parade route so that more people can participate

* Have developers/builders do inspections, with the City doing the final inspection

* Expansion of medical center complex by Mercy Hospital'

* Keep current form of local government (council/manager) and expand rep. Districts

* Maintain our current ties with Mexico and continue economic planning with unrestricted 

   travel to and from the two countries

* Add Metro street cars in downtown areas

* Develop lake at the training center similar to Lago

* Larry until 2020

* Relocate Zacate treatment plant

* Change City Charter and revamp

* Add zoo and waterpark

* Remove mobile homes from R3 district

* Get businesses involved in community such as events in districts

* Require both LISD and UISD to coordinate and get approval from the City on location,

   access to schools and facilities

* Consolidation of duplicated services (schools, City, Webb County)

* Inter-local agreement with local entities

* Need secondary, surface, and subsurface water

* Add air police patrol

* Relocate railroad tracks and add two new rail bridges with sufficient grade

* separation

* Develop drive in theatres

* Add new hospital in South Laredo to insure that adequate medical facilities are available

   in crisis

* High speed connectors LDO/SA/Monterrey (high speed rail)

* Add light rail to serve Laredo and NuevoLaredo

* Move airport location b/w Routes 359 and 59

* Improve streets/traffic (wider streets, one way pair, add trees, reduce noise, more major

   collectors, compare north and south areas of City)

* Municipal golf course

* Major improvements to LAFB area

* Convention Center next to LEC

* Add new convention center in the center of the city

* Add City Hall annex

* Zacate Creek Riverwalk and connect with Colonia Guadalupe development

* Instill pride and cleanliness

* Take action on SOBs

* Add COPS station on Hwy359

* Add theater arts (Majestic)

* River gondolas/boats moving b/w Laredo and NuevoLaredo

* Add another outer loop to move traffic

* Add direct routes for schools and LCC

* Need another lake; develop with restaurants, etc.


Green Group  


Eliseo Valdez. Juan Ramirez, Joe Valdez, Larry Dovalina




* Efforts in historic preservation that promote our classical architecture (Laredo National

   Bank and Milmo Bank buildings)

* Rich history and culture ("Only city under seven flags")

* Keep buildings refurbished as Laredo must capitalize on the richness of what we have in

   order to attract tourism

* Maintain integrity of the river vega land similar to what they have on the Rock Creek

   Parkway.  Use as an amenity and giant green belt in our community.

* Our image as the most successful inland port in the nation (technologically advanced and


* Improving workforce opportunities and the strides we have made in diversifying


* Unemployment rate that is below double digits

* Our edge in salaries and benefits for city employees (as compared to other government

   agencies in the area)

* Improving the original Fort McKintosh campus with its old original outposts or designate

   it as a national historic landmark

* Family values in the community, including:

   - Providing support for own family members

   - Pride in the family name, core family values

   - Keeping negative influences out

* Competitive edge




* Develop the downtown and riverfront to include:

   - Massive improvement of Zacate Creek, a riverwalk and and a barge that goes up and 

     down the river carrying tourists

   - Tourist shops, coffee shops

   - Removing cars from street and closing of streets to increase pedestrian access

   - Planting trees

   - Improving buildings

   - Activities that get people walking and socializing downtown

-         Riverfront Mall demolished and a condominium development built to bring people back downtown (have amenities and park already there)

   - Activities that bring college kids and elderly people downtown

   - A transportation system that takes people crossing the border to the mall to shop

   - Light rail system that gets people back and forth across the

   - Development of massive downtown parking

* Initiate a massive program to cleanup, develop, and protect the creeks

* Develop a long term plan so that all the creeks are like spokes coming into a giant central

   park system at the river

* Require the donation of creek land as part of development

* Eliminate the prohibition of the water line extensions outside the City limits so we can

   bring more land into the City for growth

* Make home ownership possible for more people in the community

* Extend water lines to open up more land for development

* Change City Charter to allow us to determine where roadways need to go and construct

   them versus waiting for developers go build them so we have more control over


* Revisit the state law as it relates to colonias

   - Give residents vouchers to buy the land they occupy

   - Take to the developers options to City owned land that they would acquire through a  

      lottery under the condition that they would hold the ceiling price at an affordable level

* Team up with the County (if necessary) to dredge Lake Casa Blanca and to do a structural   

   analysis of the dam to determine its ability to retain water and to increase water  

   impoundment. Take the Unitech effluent and run it down through the tributaries on  

   Chacon Creek to provide a natural filtering system and to produce a constant stream in the


* Make sure the City's land use ordinance requires developers to donate their vega land to the City so that we will have a greenbelt

* Have better police coverage, increased visibility, and response time by increasing


* Move to precinct policing versus our current "pitstops"

* Dedicate a larger portion of the property tax to pay for public safety improvements in the


* Work on change at the State level to improve the City's ability to get a larger portion of

   collected municipal fines so that these funds stay in the City

* Work at the State level to change the sales tax exemption given to Mexican citizens so

   that the City can receive more taxes

* Change the City  Charter to make the municipal court judge appointed and make the

   parking fine process administrative

* Anticipate the growth of the City by planning for overpasses and adding a rail bridge to

   eliminate congestion

* Develop outer loop to highway standards goring from the proposed area to the proposed

   5th bridge

* More access to the Mines Road areas to I35

* Redevelop warehouse areas currently along the Union Pacific and Tex-Mex railroads

* Create a system where developers that don't have enough land to donate for park space

   can contribute to a park development fund

* No park less than 25 acres

* Protect existing creek areas by insuring that creeks are buffered from warehouses and

   future development

* Keep warehouses from being built on the west side of the Mines Road area

* Finish developing our parks, including the Father Magnable Park

* Alexander Park - leverage and capitalize on funds to move the City to the next level and

   to create economic development opportunities

* Construct an administrative office building downtown for the consolidation of all city

   offices, with an allowance for future expansion

* Realign major streets on Mines Road off Flecha and Las Cruces and Bristol and San


* Extend River Bank Road from Deerfield subdivision to Indian Sunset

* Remove the Zacate Creek sewer plant so we can make improvements to the area

* Expand the Civic Center to add meeting rooms and additional parking

* Create a stronger partnership with the Laredo Development Foundation that defines

   expectations and includes regular reporting; consider increased funding to LDF

* Work more closely with the school districts to leverage our resources and open up

   recreational facilities that will benefit both schools and the City

* Work toward having one central airport for the two Laredos using the Laredo Airport as

the principal airport for the two communities. Create two separate airports that include one for cargo that can run 24 hours a day, leaving the other for passengers.  Buffer both.



Laredo City Council Planning Retreat

June 27-29, 2002



June 28, 2002

Alfredo Agredano


S 41

T 27

J 39

I 17

S 57

T 47

J 47

E 23

S 41

T 47

J 45

E 15

S 11


P 11





E 9

N 9

T 37

P 25

I 13

S 37

F 9

J 19

E 35

S 17

F 9

J 19





E 11

S 27

T 61

P 27

I 17

S 27

T 57

P 11

I 11

S 19

T 37

J 23


Johnny Amaya


Gene Belmares


Elizabeth Flores


John Galo


Hector Garcia


Juan Ramirez


Eliseo Valdez


Jose Valdez


Larry Dovalina


Cynthia Collazo


Jessica Hein






Developing Strategic Targets

for the

Laredo City Council's Vision


Focus Question:


What themes should dominate our focus as a City Council for the next 20 years in order for Laredo to achieve its full potential in the year 2020?


Strategic Targets:


Downtown/Riverfront Revitalization


Diversification of the Economy


Clean City


Social Infrastructure


Inland Port: Whatever It Takes


Well-Planned Infrastructure


Government Services


Public Safety


Council Subgroup Action Planning:


1. Strategic Target


2. Goals (with Objectives and/or Ideas)


3. Timeframe (less than 5 years, 5-10 years, 10-20 years)


Downtown/Riverfront Revitalization

Betty Flores, Juan Rivera, Alfredo Agredano


1. Develop a structure and staffing to insure that downtown/riverfront revitalization

    achieves its full potential.


* Acquire staffing (this budget period)

* Develop comprehensive downtown plan (end of 2003)

* Develop relationships that connect the public and private sector

* Gain access to grants and other funding


2. Develop the downtown/riverfront so that we enhance our economic base, enhance

    tourism, and improve our quality of life.


* Acquire land to develop massive parking capacity (0-5)

* Relocate Zacate wastewater plant (10-20)

* Remove odors (0-5)

* Continue to work with Mexico to beautify and improve traffic issues (0-5)

* Develop light rail system (10-20)

* Remove railroad lines (20+)

* Eliminate abandoned warehouses (5-10)

* Develop a strategy to put multifamily, high rise housing downtown (end of 2003)

* Develop strategy to significantly enhance tourism (0-5)


  Diversification of the Economy


  Betty Flores, Juan Rivera, Alfredo Agredano


1. Initiate partnerships with educational institutions, agencies, and organizations to insure

    that children are being prepared for current and future needs in Laredo.


* Increase funding to LDF to achieve identified goals (this budget period)

* Expand training capacity using all resources (0-5)

* Identify a stable fund for workforce training, including scholarships (0-5)


2. Expand our position as a regional medical center.


* Establish a Veterans Hospital in Laredo (0-5)

* Create workforce development strategy for success as a medical center (0-5)

* Continue to develop amenities that attract qualified medical professionals (0-5)


3. Diversity economy in all areas of Laredo to decrease traffic, stimulate the economy, and

    to enable people to work close to home. (Need specific objectives below)


* Create incentives for business

* Improve infrastructure (roads, parks, sidewalks)

* Develop entertainment and recreation


Clean City


Joe Valdez, Hector Garcia, Jessica Hein


1. Promote clean air in  Laredo


* Pursue emissions control strategies

* Continue CNG or H20 safer efforts with technological improvements

* Object to inspection stations


2. Create a trash-free city


* Have the Environmental Services Department create and lead a comprehensive

   strategy for a trash-free city (0-5)

* Enhance recycling efforts to insure that we are recycling 50% of all trash (5-10)

* Create ordinance to eliminate plastic bags and require recyclable bags and non-

   returnable containers (0-5)

* Create ordinance that requires all commercial development to have adequate

   receptacles and cleanup programs or face continuing fines (0-5)

* Implement I35 and downtown trash reduction strategy (0-5)

* Instill civic pride (10+)


3. Eliminate/address the City's current environmental challenges.


* Laredo Airforce Base (0-5)

* Implement massive program to cleanup, protect, and develop creeks (10+)

* Revisit requirements for developers related to environmental issues (0-5)

* Develop plan to monitor private areas under court order/TNRCC regulations (0-5)

* Develop a strategy to eliminate selling on right-of-ways (0-5)


4. Develop an innovative beautification program that enables citizens to take pride in our



* Develop strategy to address aesthetic issues (plant trees and tif grass, add

   sidewalks, underground electrical wires, etc.) (0-5)

* Amend ordinance to regulate all major public buildings and park areas to place

   utilities underground (10-20)

* Seek innovative beautification approaches (include issue of transient population;

   have residents buy trees for Arbor Day, awards for yard beautification) (0-5)


Social Infrastructure


Joe Valdez, Hector Garcia, Jessica Hein


1. Improve housing opportunities in Laredo


* Initiate more programs for qualifying applicants

* Develop more municipal housing (i.e. Thomas Flore Apartments)

* Take pride in our housing program

* Stricter guidelines for tenants

* Develop program to modernize housing utilities (electric appliances to gas

   appliances; develop policy to assure that both gas and electric are provided)


2. Improve public health


* Create satellite stations (WIC) to provide basic services that are currently provided

   only at headquarters (Link all clinics via fiber optics for processing)

* Build community of medical service facilities



3. Improve parks (Update/align Parks Plan to reflect City Council's strategic goals)


* Finish existing parks in plan (maintain existing parks, complete usage studies)

* Revamp existing program for donated land for parks/rec use (turnkey projects)

* Implement irrigation systems at every existing and proposed park

* Construct municipal golf course

* Zoo

* Waterpark

* Alexander Park

* Father McNaboe

* Create a park improvement fund for donations

* No park less than 25 acres

* Create ordinance requiring developers to donate vega land to City for greenbelts


4. Improve recreation centers


* Insure that new recreation centers have technology/branch library

* New convention center at center of City

* Expand current civic center

* Provide plan to identify recreation centers and parks in all areas

* Add theatre arts (Majestic)

* Take over Lake Casa Blanca

* School districts partnership to utilize their facilities


5. Improve quality of life for our elderly and youth.


* Implement summer programs to include computer classes, sewing, cooking,


Inland Port: Whatever It Takes


Well-Planned Infrastructure


Eliseo Valdez, Johnny Amaya, Larry Dovalina


Note:  Items in this action plan have been bulleted and may be developed as goals and objectives. Additionally, goals and objectives for these strategic targets have been combined, but should might be separated for the final strategic plan.




* Traffic synchronization as a capital plan with action components

* AVI - Non-commercial (north-south)

* Use of system by NuevoLaredo and Laredo (federal and U.S. and Mexico)

* River Drive Mall (?) buy in

* Strategies for continued involvement with trade groups (government agencies, etc.)

* 5th Bridge (permit, design plans)

* EL Portal - Light Rail - Riverfront Development

* Inspection stations at 26 mile or reverse inspection in Mexico

* Crosstown Bus - HUB - south and north




* Cemeteries

* Outer loop expansion - tie at Rio Bravo

* Bob Bullock - grade separations (Del Mar, 59, 359, Magana Hein)

* Industrial Development - La Baranca

* Water (secondary, surface, other than river, River Casa Blanca (permanent source,

    long term)

* Landfill - 100 years

* Roads - major collectors - better planning - more funding




* Develop air cargo transport component

* Move railroad out of town

* Construct two rail bridges; use old rail bridge for light rail (Use TDOT money

   allocated for rail separation for construction of rail improvements)

* Double rail inside City limits

* Redevelop former rail properties for housing opportunities

* Light rail



Institutionalize our plan


Government Services


Gene Belmares, John Galo, Cindy Collazo


1. Revise the City Charter (0-5)


* Municipal Court Judge (qualifications)

* Utility extensions

* Clearly define the role and responsibilities of the Mayor and Council

* Prohibit City employees from seeking financial gain from city projects, events,

   and contracts

* Vendor responsibility to the City (taxes, fees, fines, etc. in relation to future or

   existing contracts)


2. Improve and enhance customer services at all levels of government (0-5)


* One stop and online shop

* City Hall annex (multiple)

* Possible use of community centers

* Public/private partnership (i.e. pay station, H.E.B., etc.)

* Consolidation of taxing entities


3. Create a stronger Code Enforcement Division (0-5)


* Cross training

* Under "one roof"

* Increase funding

* Increase public education

* Increase citizen participation (i.e. TIPS program)

* Develop air patrol schedule to assist with code enforcement on quarterly basis


4. Increase City funding through multiple sources (0-5)


* Create a fire district fund

* Municipal fines retention (from all law enforcement, i.e. DPS @ bridge)

* Percentage of duties

* Manifesto fee

* Create additional enterprises

- Electric billboards on bridge

- Law enforcement/fire training center

* Aggressive pursuit of grants (public and private)

* Reimbursement of City provided services by federal and state agencies

* Sponsor legislation to have class C's brought to Municipal Court


5. Grow LDF into a well-funding economic development corporation. (0-5)


* Increase funding

* Increase City participation

* Widen the scope (clarify expectations, goals, and reporting)


6. Add individual staff to address council members needs (i.e. speeches, presentations,

    coordination, constituent response, scheduling)


Note:  Address mail system at City Hall


7. Improve relationship with Metro Government (0-5)


* Coordinate and streamline services between political subdivisions (schools,

   County, and Texas)

* Implement better communication and planning processes between same

* Create check-off list for interlocal developments (i.e. new schools)



Public Safety


Gene Belmares, John Galo, Cindy Collazo


1. Create a world class fire and public safety training facility (0-5)


* Acquire additional acreage (700 acres) to offer greater number of training services

   for all levels of law and fire agencies

* Create aggressive marketing program to develop revenues for self sustenance

* Create a long range grant/funding program to continue expansion and



2. Review and create a well-defined and funded COPS station program. (0-5)


* Tie in a community participation program

* Reactivate neighborhood watch program

* Create a speed watch program

* Develop interlocal agreement with schools for traffic assistance


3. Create an air patrol program (0-5)


* Interlocal with state and federal agencies

* Identify funding sources outside of G.F.


4. Create a long range fire station location plan to assess future needs (0-5)


* Develop funding/budget plan

* Market or promote public/private "buy-in"

* Identify possible grants (public/private)


5. Develop long range security plan for bridges, airports, and water system (0-5, 10+)


* Develop funding/budget plan

* Identify funding sources, grants, reimbursements from agencies

* Coordinate plan with all law enforcement agencies (MSA/USA)

* Identify and address strengths and weaknesses

* Review Emergency Response Plan to add potential threats





Laredo City Council Follow Up Plan

Timetable Identified on June 29, 2002

Follow Up Item

Due Date

1.      Facilitator will send initial draft of plan to the City

Administration and it will be distributed to the City Council


2.      Mayor and City Council will review the initial plan draft and provide feedback to City Administration.


3.      Staff group (City Manager’s Office and key staff) will develop a more refined draft strategic plan.


·        Be as creative as possible

·        Incorporate current plans.

·        Refine goals, objectives, responsibilities, timeframes.

·        Recommend any appropriate funding strategies.

·        Recommend work sessions where appropriate to enable Council to have more in-depth discussion about specific issues.


4.      Mayor and City Council discuss and endorse strategic plan and develop plan for sharing/promotion.


5.      City Manager brings Department Heads together for a planning retreat and to align the strategic plan.


6.      Incorporate strategic plan elements into budget.


Strategies for Following Up on Vision/Plan:


1.      Schedule regular meetings to discuss strategic direction of the City, ideas, and progress on the strategic plan.


2.      Schedule Council retreat every two years to update and refine the plan and to incorporate new Council members.

Week of July 1, 2002




July 2002



August 1, 2002












Early September 2002



Mid September 2002



October 1, 2002






I, Jessica Hein, Assistant to City Manager, do hereby certify that the above minutes contained in pages 01 to 14 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the City Council meeting held on June 27, 28 and 29, 2002.




                                                            Jessica Hein

                                                            Assistant to City Manager