CITY OF LAREDO

                                              CITY COUNCIL MEETING

                                                            M2003-R-03

                                            CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

                                                1110 HOUSTON STREET

                                                 LAREDO, TEXAS 78040

                                                      FEBRUARY 3, 2003

                                                                5:30 p.m.

 

 I.         CALL TO ORDER

 

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

 

II.        PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Mayor Flores led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

III.       ROLL CALL

 

            In attendance:

 

            Elizabeth G.  Flores,                                                     Mayor

            Alfredo Agredano,                                                        Mayor Pro Tempore, District I 

Hector Garcia,                                                              Council Member, District II

            John C.  Galo,                                                              Council Member, District III

            Eliseo Valdez, Jr.,                                                         Council Member, District V

            Gene Belmares,                                                            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

 

            Motion to excuse Cm. Amaya.

 

            Moved:  Cm. Galo

            Second:  Cm. J. Valdez, Jr.

            For:    6                                                Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

            Cm. Agredano was not present.

 

IV.       MINUTES

 

Approval of the minutes and work product of the Strategic Planning Workshop of June 27, 28, and 29, 2002.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm. Galo

Second:  Cm. Belmares

For:      6                                              Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0 

 

V.        COMMUNICATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS

 

Announcements

 

a.  State of the City address by Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores.

 

                 Mayor Flores read the following City Address:

 

"As I began to write this message to the people of Laredo, I reflected on the work that has been done, the work that has been started and the dreams that are yet to be a reality for our city.  I began this report some days ago still filled with the joys of a wonderful holiday season and the hope that only a new year can bring.

 

Yesterday, I went back and rewrote the beginning of my report for indeed in what seemed a very brief moment; an explosion once again shattered our world.  Today, our hearts are heavy with the loss of seven of the bravest and boldest men and women in this world will ever know.  Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, David M.  Brown all mission specialists; Michael P.  Anderson, Payload Commander and Llan Ramon, Payload Specialist. William C.  McCool, Pilot and Rick D.  Husband, Commander, all aboard the United States Space Shuttle Columbia.  Men and women compelled to making this world a better place .  We should not forget for whom they are risking their lives.  We must pursue excellence in space travel so that their lives were not lost in vain. 

 

My fellow Laredoans.  Our great City has once again been blessed with a very good year.  In spite of a slow economy our unemployment figures remain low, our City services high and our future solid.  Because of the careful fiscal management of our experienced and highly dedicated staff and the leadership and prudent policy decisions of this Mayor and this City Council, we have another banner year to report to you.

 

Your City’s personnel department screened almost 14,000 applications for employment last year.  Administered five entrance exams for police officer applicants and two firefighter exams and coordinated the retirement of 36 of some of our finest senior employees.  Employees who achieved the rank of supervisor were trained in supervisory skills, and almost $55,000 was reimbursed to City employees participating in the tuition reimbursement program. The City formalized a Masters in Public Administration program with Texas A & M International University, launched the Certified Public Manager Program with SouthWest Texas University and created a local American Society for Public Administrators Chapter.  Code enforcement officers have been giving continuing education and training.  But wellness of mind is not all that the City’s administrative services department does.  They have enhanced our employee’s overall wellness with wellness programs and fairs, Disease Management Programs, and safety training reducing overall absenteeism.

 

Thanks to an aggressive marketing program, over $14 million in federal grants and strong management calendar year 2002 was another successful year for the City’s Laredo International Airport.  The airport’s role as a catalyst for economic development in our community and region is much enhanced by the continued improvement of the infrastructure and air transportation services, both passenger and cargo.  Laredo International Airport now has direct jet service to its top three destinations.  An increase of 7.5% passenger boarding and 15% in air cargo activity will only multiply with the other new attractions in town as well as the daily Boeing 727 flights Federal Express will announce this year. And we must not forget airport security.  Due to the seriousness of the security measures we have taken to respond to congressional mandates all I will report to this:  The TSA is here, trained and ready to go.

 

You cannot read about Laredo, come to Laredo or live in Laredo without talking about our bridges.  With four very successful and well-run international bridges, Laredo continues to be the place to be.  Laredo’s International Bridge’s, municipal, state and federal personnel, trade handling community and retail community continue to make our bridges the most effective crossings on the Southern border.  The 1.5 million south bound commercial trucks, over seven million non-commercial vehicles and over four million pedestrians processed efficiently and safely in 2002, evidence this. 

 

Strong fiscal management has been the mandate from the members of the City Council and the Mayor.  The City’s administration has responded quickly and successfully earning the Budget Department the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Governmental Finance Officers Association, making it the 11th consecutive year that the City of Laredo has been recognized.  In September, the members and I adopted a $242 million operating and capital projects budget for FY 2002-2003.  This formal document was transitioned into a electronic format making it available on a “cd” for the first time and we can be viewed on the City’s Web Page. 

 

And what better way to start the year than with the Sister City Festival and Exposition.  I want to thank the City Secretary, Mr.  Gustavo Guevara and his staff for working closely with Nick Reyna, Patricia Taylor and the entire Convention and Visitors staff for pulling off a very successful first annual festival.  From as far east as Ziixing, Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China to as far west as Sinoloa, Mexico we had visitors.  They brought their furniture, clothing, paletas, candy, liquor, tequila, carne seca, tropical flowers, masks, handmade saddles, silver belt buckles, butter soft leather jackets, honey, beautiful silk embroidery, hand made shawls, dancers and warm and friendly people.  The Mayors and their development staff quickly realized that Laredo was strategically placed to export into the United States using land and air transportation systems making this event one of the single most influential events we could host for future economic development.  Of course, many exhibitors also noticed the opportunities to sell their wares in our fair city as well.

 

We have not forgotten that one of the most basic needs for the family is a safe and sanitary home.  This year, under the able leadership of Erasmo Villarreal and his dedicated staff, the City assisted 135 very low and low-income households with down payment deferred loans of up to $15,000 at 0% interest.  Throughout the year 112 elderly residents were provided tenant based rental assistance.  We partnered with local service providers to assist over 505 households with rent and utility payments when they needed the help most.  We used our federal grants to rehabilitate and refurbish, remove asbestos, and demolish substandard structures.  The Laredo Affordable Housing Corporation financed the construction of 30 single family housing units and the Metro Affordable Housing Corporation constructed 10 unites, the Azteca Economic development and Preservation Corporation complete two three bedroom apartments and started the construction of another two duplex units.  Through its federal fund program the City provided these community housing development organizations with funds to construct these homes.

 

Playgrounds are important for our community.  As our City and our families grow, we must expand our menu of parks and recreation centers.  And so we did.  With the able leadership of a bright young man, Horacio De Leon, the San Francisco/Eistetter Park was completed and we initiated the construction of the Eastwoods Park, Santa Rita Park, the South Laredo Park, Lafayette Linear Park, and the George Washington Park.  Improvements were made to the Dryden Optimist Park, Benavides Softball Complex, the Del Mar Little League Park and to the Al King Little League Park, Loma Alta Park, Del Mar Community Park, and Los Dos Laredo’s Park.  Improvements were also made the to Wildlife Conservation Camp and the Downtown Plazas.  Our four pools were repaired, new roofing and lighting was installed, shades were added and restrooms re-done.  Recreation centers are very popular so we added landscaping, completed modification of summer playground programs and implemented an outdoor conservation program.  Lots of untold efforts by the Co-trustees of the Bruni Vergara Trust and the members of your Council and your Mayor went into bringing to you what now a reality is waiting to be built, the Inner City Park.  Improving the face of the inner city, this Park and technology driven recreation center design has been complete and the construction contract awarded a few weeks ago.  Creative minds are busy minds.  City staff is no exception.  With a TEA 21 Grant the City initiated the design of the Ryan Street Railroad bridge, which will serve the community now as a pedestrian bridge.  And throughout the year we improved the Father McNaboe Park, brought it into ADA compliance, nursed it after floodwaters damaged it and just recently cut the ribbon on new skate park equipment and the t-ball field.  Maintenance of parks and center is as important as building them. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the staff of Parks and Recreations for their commitment to excellence.  They are anxiously awaiting all of our new parks including the El Cuatro Park because they get to see the smiles on our children’s faces.  On their spare time, the department initiated a water park feasibility study, grant re-submittals, worked on a park dedication ordinance, a Veteran’s monument, New Parks five year recovery plan, and Adopt a Park program, employee handbook, inventory control system, Joint Use Agreement with LISD, a Tree City USA application and are working on conceptual plan of Riverfront Development.

 

The City rose to the challenge.  We worked hard on housing assistance, parks and recreations, fiscal management, administrative services, our bridges and our airport.  We did not hide from the difficult decisions that had to be made at budget time in order to comply with our goal to deliver excellent service and provide protection to the people of Laredo.  NAFTA, September 11th and the resulting strain on our infrastructure had to be met head on if were to keep growing and attracting value added jobs to our community.  We did not forget that sometimes in order to deliver better services we had to take calculated risks, we had to not only think out of the box, but work “out of the box”.  After many months of hard work and careful evaluation from both the members of the Council, the Mayor and the staff the City of Laredo privatized its Water Utility Department.  But not without first making improvements to the Jefferson Water Treatment Plant to provide more constant water pressure to our customers.  We are now undergoing the planning and design of improving the Zacate Creek plant to provide wastewater service for many years to come by rehabilitating its processes and installing odor control strategies that are expected to make the plant undetectable to the neighboring public.  By increasing the water storage capacity, the city is better able to serve its customers. By continue to look for the most sound and most effective secondary source of water we are guaranteeing our future.  By partnering with Webb County we are key players to improving the lives of our neighbors in the colonias as we work on the infrastructure improvements necessary to provide them with water and wastewater services. 

 

This City has worked hard to eliminate discrimination at all levels.  But we must try harder.  We must work harder towards being considerate of slow drivers for they may be our elders.  Just as bright but walking, talking and driving a little slower.  We must be patient with our children, friendlier with our neighbors, more considerate of our fellow workers and our elected leaders.  A family like the family of Jose and Esther should not suffer.  Because Jose is Puerto Rican and Ester Korean, they bring a rich culture to our city.  These wonderful, hard working people are hearing impaired.  They have suffered unjustly at the hands of people who have not taken the time to understand them or their abilities.  But they remain in Laredo because they have also found the many warm and wonderful people of Laredo whose heart is as big as the State of Texas.

 

This warmth, this promise of community is what Laredo is all about. Disregard the days when the airwaves is filled with angry people, listen instead to the beautiful cry of the special birds that visit Laredo, listen to the sound of the wind that keeps our air clean, listen instead to the laughter at the entertainment center, the songs of the children, the bells from our places of worship, the sounds of a buy city that has much to offer. 

 

Listen instead, as we have, to the downtown shopper who is looking for today’s bargain buy.  Laredo’s downtown is a shopper’s dream.  Outlet malls flourish in downtown Laredo.  That is why the City has completed its feasibility study for the renovation of the Plaza Theater.  And although, many people wanted a dollar cinema, we cannot do that but we can restore it to its original splendor.  The Plaza Committee has many great ideas that will work if the community supports them. We have also started the Calle Iturbide project and have finished the Benavides Herrera Home historical restoration.  This year we will began the El Protal project.  If talks with the private sector come to fruition, we will have a downtown many will envy but few will have.  We continue to work to acquire property along the Chacon Creek and the Tinaja Chacon Creek as well as the Manadas Creek, to beautify, protect our environment and improve our drainage.  Sidewalks near schools have been an important project for each council member.  They have used their discretionary capital improvement fund for many of these badly needed sidewalks. 

 

Through our Public Information Department and our Web Page we keep all media and community advised on our progress.  I can not remember any day in previous years that we have provided so much information to so many in such a professional and concise manner.  Our Public Information Department is also responsible for compiling the many requests we get for open records information.  And so, in an effort to improve our outreach, we are starting a quarterly newsletter this year that we will distribute to you.

 

Your code officers cleared 199 sites of graffiti, they collected 3,781 tires, they participated in 43 clean-up campaigns and they try their best to serve an every growing Laredo.  Your public works department is our in-house angel.  You will see their work all over town.  They have completed paving projects throughout the city, constructed ramps at our bridges, did curb and gutter work at different locations, drainage improvements, street recycling, street widening, all the sidewalk improvements and construction.  The next time you see them at work, honk and thank them for a job well done.

 

We can not extend City services without the city tax payer or city rate payer meeting their obligations.  Therefore the prompt payment of city taxes and city services is important.  Your tax department is efficient and in wanting to better serve the customer they extended their hours during the last weeks of the season.  Last year, their research improved the granted exemptions, removed those that we not exemptions and increased the tax roll.

 

When you are waiting at a red light, chances are you're not thinking about the hard working people of the Traffic Department.  But you should, they are working hard to improve the central system connection so that traffic flow is improved.  They are installing new lights and replacing and upgrading traffic signal head indicators with less power consumption LEDs.  They have installed speed humps at the request of neighborhoods throughout the city with the help of the public works department.  The traffic department issued 8,927 permits for oversize loads and 1,556 permits for overweight loads.

 

At the end of the year the Fleet Department installed a state of the art compressed natural gas refueling station with ten slow fill stations, which can be used for support of large transit vehicles, and four fast fill refueling CNG pumps.  This type of refueling station is the first in South Texas.

 

Public Transportation is important  to a community like Laredo, last year after finalizing the Labor Union negotiations, the transit department ordered and received 18 Life equipped vans for the El Lift Paratransit Service.  They ordered 8 new buses, started the repair of older bus lifts, contracted with Burger King at the Transit Center, partially funded the tree trimming at Jarvis Plaza, installed 56 sunshades and 50 sunshades with benches.  They also have a south Laredo project of 21 blocks of sidewalks and did many of the Scott street improvements.

 

Of course, none of this construction work could be done without a very experienced, very knowledgeable Engineering department.  If Public Works is our angel, then Engineering is the wind beneath this angel’s wing.  Rogelio Rivera, saw that the Engineering Department had a hand every step of the way on all the construction projects in the city.  With $11526,660 in airport improvements, $586,206 for the bridges, $2,177,672 for parks, $6,985,094 for paving, $38,071,679 for structures (which include the Laredo Entertainment Center) $13,898,991 for subdivisions, and $1,186,328 for downtown beautification they job is important to what our city will look like now and for years to come.  The project I listed account for 75 different projects with a total value of $73,803,486.

 

And all this “building up” of our City requires a strong and focused Environmental Services Department.  We began the year appropriately, with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the new offices of this very important department.  I know how happy you were Riazul Mia.  Last year the department collected $34,000 pounds of household hazardous waste, responded to over 532 complaints from the community, issued 527 hazmat permits to handle hazardous materials, finished the Chacon Creek Flood Mitigation Plan, received various EPA grants including one for computer and electronic recycling and for the purchase of educational and promotional materials.

 

Our finances are in order, the Finance Department staff continue to receive recognitions for the excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers’ Association, the highest form of recognition that can be received for governmental accounting and financial reporting. 

 

So how have we fared after September 11th?  Our city continues to grow, the safety and security of our citizens and residents is still our number one concern.  Did you know that the Health Department is Laredo’s fourth-largest department and one that plays a vital role in the health of hundreds of thousands of people in this community?  With nearly 200 employees and almost $10 million, the Health Department now serves more than 100,000 directly while indirectly serving every resident and visitor.  The Department also offers support, as needed to residents of Webb County, other surrounding counties, and our sister city of Nuevo Laredo.  They developed a new Promotora outreach, expert and responsive epidemiological and preparedness team to meet any public health threat and emerging disease challenge.  Further build networks to meet health care needs of Webb County with the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio, Brooks Army Medical Center, Area Health Education Center Alliance, United States – Mexico border Health Commission, US-Mexico border Health Association, Texas Department of Health Commission, Texas Department of Health, San Antonio Metro Health, Environmental Protection Agency for Toxic Substances Diseases Registry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The Department’s local partnerships with Mercy Health Care System, Gateway Community Health Center and most of all the many private providers has improved the communities ability to deal with any potential health hazard.  Two historical Memorandums of Understanding were signed during the 4th Annual Los Dos Laredo Conference Binational Health Conference.  One was to reduce barriers in Binational Communication by the Health Commissioners of the State of Texas, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila.  The other was to proclaim Texas-Tamaulipas Binational Birth Defects Project, a model neural tube defect prevention Binational program.  To continue their excellence in service to this community, the department improved its prevention services by undergoing critical changes to the Animal Control Unites.  They developed new rules and regulations for sanitarian, food inspection and environmental services.  While maintaining surveillance on health related conditions with the City of Laredo and Webb County, prepared for bioterroism, infectious diseases, as well as other public health threats.  Tuberculosis control managed 45 cases and over 300 contacts, while they worked with Texas A & M Promotoras to assist with a TB prevention program.  They continue with their mosquito abatement and surveillance project, adult and children flu immunizations, Buena Vida Wellness and Prevention Program, WIC, HIV Service, La Familia Primary Care, prenatal care, dental visits, audited daycares, school and physicians, received 12,000 lab specimens and performed 48,000 lab tests and saw many breast and cervical cancer patients.  I have not talked about the 9,000 stray dogs they picked up, or the 5,042 loose dogs, 618 animal bites, EMS billing, the food inspections, the septic tanks permits or the hepatitis A and diabetes cases.

 

I am sure many of you were thinking that a lot of this cost could be reduced if our citizens and residents became more aware of the problems and costs to others that they are causing.  But there will always be people that cause us harm.  So we must be prepared.  And we are.  The Laredo Police Department and the Fire Department are indeed one of the largest, best equipped and best prepared in the State of Texas and beyond.  By lowering the crime rate, the Police Department made this city a safer place in which to raise our families.  The Department’s success in acquiring grants to fund new recruits and some of their operations help the citizens and resident of this city.  By purchasing a new surveillance van, nine motorcycles, 30 marked and 30 unmarked police cars they have more mobility in the city whose square miles has been increasing.  Besides $1.8 million in drug seizures, creation of a crash team, which will conduct fatality and major accident investigations and improved data system, LPD will be better trained in the new Law Enforcement Training Center they helped pay for and will share with the Fire Department.

 

Which bring me to your Fire Department.  To better serve the community, the Department created three new divisions.  Training, International Training and Fire Prevention will provide the foundation for the development and growth of the entire department.  After an exciting grand opening of the New Laredo Fire/Law Enforcement Training Center early 2002, the department has continued to pursue excellence in emergency preparedness.  If you will remember the FEMA director was here to help us inaugurate the training center.  Recognizing that training is an on going thing, the department has partnered with the Laredo Community College to help LCC become a licensed Fire Academy training site by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.  This initiative will help Laredo with its outreach program to train fire fighters from South American countries and Mexico.  With a new training center, four new ambulances, two new Hurst Jaws of Life, new medications, new intervention techniques, an updated link with the hospitals, and 12 heart monitors saving lives will be at close reach.  Next year, they hope to have their new Cielito Lindo Fire Station and the Unitec Industrial Station.  Meeting the challenges of an every changing city, your Fire Department, like your Police Department, train hard and leave their home willingly every day not knowing if they will return.  We owe them a great deal of gratitude.

 

We have worked hard as a council this year.  We lost council members who have served their community for many years.  And we were sorry to see them go.  But in return the people of this City elected Council Members who have already shown that a team is as strong as its weakest link, that planning is important, that vision works if you set goals for yourself and your city.  At every meeting when we set policy, approve motions, resolutions, and introduce ordinances that affect the daily lives of the people we serve, we too remember that we are nine of those people with families that are affected by the decision we make.  That is why we are so committed to our work.  City services are not just about pot holes, although we take care of that too, it is about the health of our children, the beauty of our city, the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breath, and the books we read.  Which brings me to the wonderful acquisition of the Rodolph Gonzalez-De La Garza Genealogical Collection at the library and the $60,000 donation from the friends of the library.  We are so fortunate to have people like the Friends of the Library.  Their help assisted us because we are able to focus funds on computer upgrades.  If you have not been at the library or one of the library branches, go.  It is a pleasure to be inside these wonderful places.

 

I have not forgotten the accomplishments of our municipal court.  Our new judge is working hard to prepare his staff to move to the new Municipal Court this year.  Any one that goes to Judge Boyer’s court will know that it is well run, that people do get “their day in court” and that his effort to be fair is appreciated by all.  We will invite all to come to our spring ground breaking.

 

And so this year we have made our City safer, we have placed new books on the shelves, we have built new homes for deserving families, new parks for children, we have made our City a better place by building, cleaning, and protecting.  We must also promote our City.  The Conventions and Visitors Bureau has been doing just that all year long.  The inaugurated the City of Laredo’s Founder’s Day festivities, installed info tract software to monitoring convention and tour activities, reopened the Monterrey Information Center Office and created a new logo…the color of Cultures.   With a new official poster, updated promotional video and visitors guide, organizing of the Paisano Rest Stop, and countless other promotions, including a very successful Sister City Festival, the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau is quickly becoming one of the best run in Texas.

 

I have reached the final paragraph and thank you for your time.  It has been hard to summarize the City’s state.  We have so much going on and so much to do.  One thing we have learned, we can do what we set out to do.  I am fortunate to have a dear and understanding family.  I am fortunate to have been elected a second term and I am honored to serve the great people of this City.  Since I became mayor, February 14, 1998, I have strived to do my best.  I have worked hard.  I have put my heart in my work to be sure my decisions were for the good of all.  The next four years will be challenging, but we will rise to the challenge.  With the Lord’s blessing, I am confident with out team will reach new heights.  Laredo has been discovered.  It is up to us to keep making it better by making ourselves better.

 

When I attend a hockey game and hear the cheers of the crowd, when I attend a concert or a children’s program and see the smiles, when I see mothers, and fathers, and entire families just having fun…it is all worthwhile and I know we can do what we set out to do.  The Laredo Entertainment Center has changed the way other see us.  We have done that together.  I thank the people of Laredo who shared our dream, and helped along the way.  I thank the members of the Council for making this work for the people of Laredo, the best way they knew how.  I thank all the wonderful members of the staff teams who were looking out for the taxpayer.  At each event we get a little bit of thanks in those smiling faces.  I hope the Lord will allow me to see the look in the faces of the first graduating class at their graduation ceremonies at the Laredo Entertainment Center this summer.  Then and only the, will I be able to say, my dream came true. Thank you, and May God Bless You."

 

Invitations

 

a.   The Streets of Laredo Urban Mall Association invites the Mayor, City Council, and 

residents of Laredo and the surrounding area to the 2003 Jamboozie Festival to be held on  Saturday, February 15, 2003, between Mercado Square and San Agustin Plaza in downtown Laredo.

 

Joe Garcia, Arturo Garcia and Cindy Garcia publicly invited the Mayor, City Council and the public to attend this event. 

 

Recognitions

 

            None.

 

Communiqués

 

Cm. Agredano arrived at 5:40 p.m.

 

Cm.  Ramirez announced that Pepe Serna, an actor from the new series “King Pen”, is a Laredoan.  He also mentioned the First Annual Sister City Festival.  He commended the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and City Secretary’s Office for organizing the event.   

 

Cm.  J.  Valdez mentioned how nice the First Annual Sister City Festival was.  He congratulated Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary and Nick Reyna, Director for the Laredo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for their dedication to the event.  Finally, he added his condolences to the families from individuals that died in the Columbia Shuttle.

 

Cm.  Belmares thanked the Laredo Police Department and the Fire Department for solving the rash of fires in his district.  He also thanked Larry Dovalina, City Manager; and Riazul Mia, Environmental Director, for attending the District VI Advisory Council meeting. 

 

Cm.  E.  Valdez, also commended the Police and Fire Departments for their work in District V.  He thanked City staff for their support and work at the Eistetter Park ribbon cutting ceremony. 

 

Cm.  Galo informed the viewing public of the next City Council Meeting which would be held on Tuesday, February 18th because of the Washington Birthday Celebration. 

 

Cm.  Garcia thanked City staff, Laredo Independent School District and United Independent School District for their participation in honoring the individuals that lost their lives in the Columbia Shuttle.  He also congratulated the recent graduates from the Fire Department.  Finally, noted “Counselor’s Week” and commended them for their hard work and dedication to our children.   

 

Mayor Pro Tempore Agredano gave his condolences to the family of the Columbia Shuttle.

 

Mayor Flores commented on the ceremony held in honor of the individuals that lost their lives in the Columbia Shuttle.  She thanked her daughter, Christina, for suggesting dedicating the seven flags that fly over our airport for the seven individuals that passed away.  She noted that the flags would be taken down and sent to the families of the Columbia Shuttle.  She thanked City staff for their part in participating in creating a very touching ceremony.

 

VI.       APPOINTMENTS TO COMMISSIONS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

           

a.   Appointment by Council Member Eliseo Valdez of Dr. Carmen Ramirez Rathmel and Martha Dole to the Laredo Women’s Commission.

 

      Motion to approve.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Agredano

      Second:  Cm. E. Valdez, Jr.

      For:   7                                           Against:  0                                            Abstain: 0 

  

VII.     PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

1.      Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City Of Laredo fiscal year 

2003 NPDES Fund Budget, by appropriating the opening balance. The amendment will drawdown $136,663.00 from the NPDES unaudited opening balance and appropriating said funds.

 

      Motion to open the public hearing.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Galo

      Second:  Cm. Garcia

      For:    7                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

      There was no public input.

 

      Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Galo

      Second:  Cm. Belmares

      For:    7                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

2.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo FY 2002-2003 Annual Budget in the amount of $115,000.00 in grant funds awarded to the City of Laredo Utilities Department by the Environmental Protection Agency. Funds will be used to fund the completion of a vulnerability assessment of the water system.

 

      Motion to open the public hearing.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Galo

      Second:  Cm. Garcia

      For:    7                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

      There was no public input.

 

      Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Agredano

      Second:  Cm. Belmares

      For:     7                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0 

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

 

3.   Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending Section 13-39, Fees, of Division 2 License, of Article II, Food Products Establishments of Chapter 13 (d), Food and Food Products, of the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances to exempt the fee of $25.00 for request for inspection services for foster homes; providing for publication and effective date.

 

      Motion to open the public hearing.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Galo

      Second:  Cm. Garcia

      For:    7                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

      There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

      Moved:  Cm. Belmares

      Second:  Cm. J. Valdez, Jr.

      For:    7                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

VIII.    GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

 

            4.   A.              Request by Council Member John C. Galo

 

1.  Discussion on the need for the City to start herbicide spraying to control the weeds and grass that are growing on the street and curbs, with possible action.

 

      John Orfila, Public Works Director, reported that the herbicide truck has been delivered to the City and the department is waiting for the bid to be processed for herbicide chemicals.  The project will begin Wednesday of next week.

 

2.  Update from the City Manager on ways to control the trash problem, with possible action.

 

      Larry Dovalina, City Manager, explained several approaches the City is taking to control the trash problem, which includes Sunday pick-ups and additional sweeps.  He also explained that the City of Laredo Leadership Class has been assigned to implement a workable program for trash control.  He said the class would have a complete report to submit to Council within the month.

 

3.  Motion to hold a City Council Workshop to discuss the proposed Wetlands and Green-space Ordinance.

 

      Larry Dovalina, City Manager, said he had attended a District VI Committee Meeting where the proposed Wetlands and Green Space Ordinance was discussed.  He said there needs to be an agreement between interest parties in order to proceed.

 

 

     Cm.  Belmares added that unique areas should be pre-identified with guidelines in

     place.   

 

     Motion to hold a City Council Workshop to discuss the proposed Wetlands and

     Green Space Ordinance.

 

     Moved:  Cm.  Galo

     Second:  Cm.  Ramirez

     For:     8                              Against:  0                                            Abstain: 

 

      B.  Request by Council Member Eliseo Valdez, Jr.

 

1.  Discussion with possible action regarding reinstatement of the Webb County

     Heritage Foundation’s original third party funding amount.

 

      Dennis P.  Kriewald, representing Webb County Heritage Foundation, requested 

      reinstatement of the full funding amount requested which was $60,000.

 

      Raul Perales, reiterated the request to reinstate the original amount. 

 

Motion to reinstate to original amount of $60,000 to the Webb County Heritage Foundation from the Third Party Funding contingent upon identifying available funding. 

 

     Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Agredano

     Second:  Cm.  E.  Valdez

     For:     7                                         Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

C.  Request by Council Member Gene Belmares

 

1.  Discussion with possible action on a traffic calming device for the intersection of JSJ Estates and Springfield.

 

      Roberto Murrillo, Traffic Director, informed Council that the Traffic Department is conducting several different studies and they will report back to Council with recommendations and suggestions. 

    

2.  Status report on the expansion of the North Laredo Waste Water Treatment Plant.

 

     Adrian Montemayor Utilities Department, gave the following report on the Laredo North Waste Water Treatment Plant: 

 

      I.  Background Information

 

·        North Laredo provides the Wastewater Treatment Services for most of North and North East Laredo

·        Currently Capacity of:  926,000 gallons per day (1 mgd)

·        Current flow - 760,000 gallons per day (82%)

 

II.  Projects

 

     a.  Plant Improvement

 

·        Design is complete and we would expect to be at construction:  May 2003

·        Estimated Cost of $753,000

·        Provide for more effective storage for effluent reuse demand.  And thus    

·        reduce the discharge to the discharge points. 

 

     b.  Plant Capacity Upgrade

 

·        We have projected the plant will reach 90 % capacity in the summer of 2006 and therefore will require an increase in treatment capacity.

·        Currently under application to amend permit to treat

·        2 mgd intermediate phase

·        3 mgd final phase (2009)

·        We have reached administrative completeness and expect announcement this week of it's technically completeness.  We then will enter ina  public hearing  stage.

 

III.  Odor  Concerns

 

·        We were addressing the odor by chemically feeding at the McPherson plant

·        In 1997 a scrubber was installed to removed H2S from splitter box (raw intake structure)

·        In 2000 a belt filter press was installed to address the odor from the sludge drying beds. 

         

IX.       INTRODUCTORY ORDINANCES

 

5.   Authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association, Inc., for approximately fifteen (15.0) acres of concrete ramp located on the southwest cargo ramp of the Air operations area of the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for two (2) days commencing on February 22, 2003 and ending on February 23, 2003 (from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day) City Council finds and declares that a valid public purpose would be served in setting the daily rental fee at $1.00; providing for an effective date.

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

6.   Amending Chapter 19, Motor Vehicle and Traffic, Article VIII, Stopping, Standing or  Parking, Section 19-364 (2), restricted parking areas, of the Code of Ordinances, City of Laredo, to exclude the 600 block of Farragut Street as a No Parking Anytime/Tow Away Zone providing for effective date and publication.

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

7.   Closing as public easement that section of the 1100 block of India Avenue between Guadalupe and Chihuahua Streets situated in the Eastern Division, City of Laredo, County of Webb, Texas; and providing for an effective date.

 

      Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

8.   Closing as public easements the following street sections:

 

a.  The 100 block of North Seymour Avenue between Mercer and Green Streets.

b.  The 100 block of North Loring between Mercer and Green Streets;

 

 Situated in the Eastern Division, City of Laredo, County of Webb, Texas, and   

 providing for an effective date.

 

 Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

X.        FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES 

 

9.  Motion to waive final readings of Ordinance # 2003-O-024; # 2003-O-025; # 2003-O-026;

# 2003-O-027; # 2003-O-028; #2003-O-029; #2003-O-030; #2003-O-031; #2003-O-032;   # 2003-O-033; # 2003-O-034; and # 2003-O-035.

 

Moved:  Cm. Galo

Second:  Cm. Agredano

For:    7                                           Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-024   Amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year 2003 2000A Certificate of Obligation Issue Fund annual budget by appropriating revenues of $2,200,000.00 in the form of a donation from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust for $2,000,000.00, and a Transfer of $200,000.00 from the Capital Improvement Fund and appropriating expenditures in the amount of $2,200,000.00 for the Construction of Inner City Park.  (As amended).

                       

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-024.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:      7                                  Against:  0                                Abstain: 0

 

2003-O-025   Amending the City of Laredo FY 2002-2003 annual budget by appropriating revenues and expenditures in the amount of $112,280.00 from the Texas Department of Health and amending the City of Laredo’s FTE positions from 2 FTEs to 2.15 FTEs for the Prevention Services HIV-Infected Persons Project (PSHIP) of the City of Laredo Health Department for the period beginning January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2003.

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-025.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-026   Amending the City of Laredo FY 2002-2003 annual budget by appropriating revenues and expenditures in the amount of $199,854.00 from the Texas Department of Health and amending the City of Laredo’s FTE positions from 3.35 FTEs to 3.32 FTEs for the HIV Prevention Project of the City of Laredo Health Department for the period beginning January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2003.

                                   

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-026.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

 

2003-O-027    Amending the City of Laredo 2002-2003 annual budget by appropriating revenues in the amount of $37,722.00 and expenditures in the amount of $18,000.00 to the salaries line items and $19,722.00 in the contractual services line item to allow the City of Laredo Health Department to proceed with efficient, quality and cost effective services for the period of October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003.  The amount of $37,722.00 will be generated from the increase in certified birth certificate fees approved on July 15, 2002. 

                       

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-027.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain: 0

 

2003-O-028    Authorizing the City Manager to amend the City of Laredo FY 2002-2003 annual budget by appropriating revenues and expenditures in the amount of $21,000.00 for Project Alcance.  The Driscoll Children’s Health Plans of Corpus Christi has awarded this grant to the City of Laredo Health Department for the period beginning September 1, 2002 through August 31, 2003.

                       

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-028. 

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-029    Amending the City of Laredo FY 2002-2003 annual budget in the amount of $77,300.00 to fund the Laredo Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force Intelligence Initiative.  The Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division will now be designating $1,075,415.00 and the City of Laredo and participating agencies will designate $427,644.00 in matching funds for a total amount of $1,503,059.00.  Funding will be used to pay salaries, fringe benefits, direct operating expenses and equipment from December 1, 2002 through May 31, 2003; and accepting the supplemental grant in the same amount.

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-029. 

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-030    Amending the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances by adopting Chapter 18, Sections 18-2-1 and 18-2-2, games and amusement devices, requiring a permit for establishments operating certain game and amusement devices; requiring payment of fee prior to issuance of permit; repealing all ordinances in conflict herewith and providing for publication and effective date.  (As amended)

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-030.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

 

2003-O-031    Amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year 2002-2003 annual budget by appropriating $211,305.00 from the Bridge System Construction fund balance into the Bridge Improvements Account and authorizing the City Manager to implement said budget amendment.  Funding will be used for Bridge Improvements: Static Scale project for Bridge IV in the amount of $150,000.00 and the pneumatic coin system for Bridge II in the amount of $61,305.00. 

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2002-O-031.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

 

2003-O-032    Amending Chapter 32, Vehicles for Hire, Article II, Taxicabs, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Laredo by specifically amending Section 32-78 advertising on taxicabs allowing advertising on the rear passenger doors of taxicabs.

                       

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-032.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

     

2003-O-033    Authorizing the City Manager to execute an amendment to the Airport lease agreement between the City of Laredo, as Lessor, and Howland Surveying Company, Inc., as Lessee, authorized by Ordinance 2001-O-175 dated November 19, 2001, for the purpose of extending the term for an additional ninety (90) days ending on February 28, 2003, adjust the monthly rent obligation.  Said amendment will amend, specifically, section 1.02 titled “Rental Obligation” wherein commencing on December 1, 2002, the monthly rent obligation shall be $2,785.20.  All other terms and conditions remain unchanged and in effect; providing for an effective date.

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-033.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-034  Authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with Tomas Sandoval, III, d/b/a El Patio Nursery for approximately 1.41 acres of land located at 1704 E. Hillside at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for five (5) years commencing on January 1, 2003 and ending on December 31, 2007.  Monthly rent shall be $1,275.00 and will be adjusted annually according to changes in the consumer price index; providing for an effective date. 

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-034.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

2003-O-035    Authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with South Texas Development Council for approximately 252 square feet constituting Suite No. 10 of Building No. S-1 located at 1718 E. Calton Road at the Laredo International Airport.  Lease term is for two (2) years commencing on January 1, 2003 and ending on December 31, 2004.  Monthly rent shall be $327.60 and will be adjusted annually according to changes in the  consumer price index; providing for an effective date.

 

                        Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2003-O-035.

 

                        Moved:  Cm. Galo

                        Second:  Cm. Belmares

                        For:    7                                    Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

  

 

 

 

 

XI.       RESOLUTIONS 

 

10.  2003-R-015   Declaring the public necessity to acquire the “Surface Only” of a 6.17 acre tract of land for the construction of a greenbelt and public park.  Said parcel being situated in the Shiloh Subdivision area, City of Laredo, Webb County, Texas, being generally described below and more particularly described by metes and bounds on attached Exhibit “A”; and authorizing staff to negotiate with the owner for the acquisition of said parcel by purchase at a market value to be established by a State Certified Real Estate Appraiser, and further authorizing the City Attorney to initiate condemnation proceedings to acquire said parcel if staff is unable to acquire through negotiations due to inability to agree to a purchase price, conflict of ownership, owner refusal to sell, and/or inability to locate the listed owner. 

 

Being a tract of land containing 6.17 acres (more or less), being within and part of an original 450.81 acre tract, as recorded in Volume 329, Pages 600-604, Webb County Deed Records and also being within and part of that tract of land as described in a Deed known as 17.66 acres, “Tract I”, as recorded in Volume 1010, Pages 227-233, Webb County Official Public Records, Webb County, Texas.

 

                  Motion to approve.

 

                  Moved:  Cm. Galo

                  Second:  Cm. Agredano

                  For:    7                              Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

XII.     MOTIONS

 

11.    Authorizing the award of 2002 HOME Investment Partnership Program Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) set-aside funds in the amount of $225,000.00 to Laredo-Webb Neighborhood Housing Services to be utilized towards the purchase of a minimum of 10 lots on which affordable single-family housing units can be constructed and made available to low income first-time homebuyers; and further authorizing the City Manager to execute all documents in support of the same.

         Motion to approve.

 

         Moved:  Cm. Galo

         Second:  Cm. Agredano

         For:    7                                                   Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

 

12.    Consideration to award a professional services contract to W. D. Schock Company, Inc., Texas, in the amount of $215,762.00, for the provision of residential sound reduction services, as part of the City of Laredo International Airport Noise Compatibility Program.  The program is funded through a $2,500,000.00 grant awarded to the City by the Federal Aviation Administration, and a $250,000.00 local agency match.

 

         Motion to approve.

 

         Moved:  Cm. Galo

         Second:  Cm. Agredano

         For:    7                                                   Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

13.    Consideration to award annual contract FY03-032 to the low bidder, Cantu Electric Inc., Laredo, Texas, in the base annual amount of $33,980.00 for the maintenance of the illumination system along IH 35, Loop 20, Milo I, and FM 1472.  The contract vendor will be required to maintain, repair, and/or replace the various appurtenances related to the existing roadway assemblies.  The term of this contract is for one (1) year with an option to renew for an additional year upon mutual consent of the City and the Contractor.  Funding is available in the Traffic Safety Department budget.

 

         Motion to approve.

 

         Moved:  Cm. Galo

         Second:  Cm. Agredano

         For:    7                                                   Against:  0                                Abstain:  0 

 

14.    Consideration to amend the third party funding contracts for Streets of Laredo Urban Mall and Salon de la Fama Americano de Deportes in order to amend Section 4 and 5 to allow for one time payment for services provided.

        

         Motion to approve.

 

         Moved:  Cm. Galo

         Second:  Cm. Agredano

         For:    7                                                   Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

15.    Consideration to change the donation of equipment relative to Resolution # 2003-R-002 at the donees’ request to offer the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer with a microwave digester for metal analysis to Laredo Community College (LCC) and the Ion Chromatograph with automatic sampling capabilities for mineral analysis to Texas     A& M International University (TAMIU), which will be used in the examination of water and wastewater.  The City has no use for this equipment and plans to dispose of it absent interested donees.

 

         Motion to approve.

 

         Moved:  Cm. Galo

         Second:  Cm. Agredano

         For:     7                                                  Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

XIII.    EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

The City Council hereby reserves the right to go into executive session at any time during this public meeting, if such is requested by the City Attorney or other legal counsel for the City, pursuant to his or her duty under Section 551.071(2) of the Government Code, to consult privately with his or her client on an item on the agenda, or on a matter arising out of such item.

 

XIV.   ADJOURNMENT

 

            Motion to adjourn.                                                                                            Time:  7:16 p.m.

 

            Moved:  Cm. Galo

            Second:  Cm. Agredano

            For:    7                                                            Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

 

I, Gustavo Guevara, Jr. City Secretary, do hereby certify that the above minutes contained in pages 01 to 21 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the City Council meeting held on February 03, 2003.

 

 

                                                                        __________________________________

                                                                        Gustavo Guevara, Jr.

                                                                        City Secretary