††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††City of Laredo

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† City Council Workshop

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† City Council Chambers

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1110 Houston Street

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Laredo, Texas78040

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††January 7, 2003

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 5:30 p.m.


I.††††††††† Call to Order.


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


II.††††††† Roll Call


††††††††††† In attendance:


††††††††††† In attendance:


††††††††††† Elizabeth G.Flores,†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mayor

††††††††††† Alfredo Agredano,††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mayor Pro Tempore, District I

††††††††††† Hector Garcia,††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Council Member, District II

††††††††††† Johnny Amaya,†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Council Member, District IV

††††††††††† 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

††††††††††† Allan McGraw, ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Assistant City Attorney


††††††††††† Motion to excuse John C.Galo.


††††††††††† Moved:Mayor Pro Tempore Agredano

††††††††††† Second:Cm.Amaya

††††††††††† For:†††† 7†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Against:0††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abstain:0


III.†††††† Workshop


††††††††††† 1.City Council Workshop to discuss the proposed Ordinance amending the City of Laredo

Code of Ordinances, Chapter 18, Sections 18-2-2 (Games and Amusement Devices) requiring permits and permit fees for amusement devices and the operations and enforcement process, and possible action thereon.


Cynthia Collazo, Assistant City Manager, stated that the purpose for implementing a fee for the amusement devices is to provide a vehicle to monitor the amusement device activity and related continued impacts that have recently increased with the number of businesses that have opened up in the City.In addition, the fee will assist in the need to monitor fire codes, provision of beverages, presence of minors, sanitation, food handling requirements, zoning ordinances, and we would do this by implementing a permitting process to track each machine at its location.If the City establishes a fee it will provide for a cost of monitoring the inspections, assist with enforcement of local ordinances, and ensure the safety and general welfare of the citizens of Laredo.


Mike Barron, Intern with the City Managerís Office, submitted the following information:


As per the preliminary research conducted along most major roadways within a two week time period the results are as follows:


1.There were 39 amusement businesses surveyed Ė Although only 39 centers were

†††† found, others may exist.


2.The least number of machines at an establishment are 17 machines.The greatest

†††† amount of machines were 115.


3.Overall, there are approximately 1,750 gaming machines combined amongst the

†††† businesses surveyed.


4.Almost all of the establishments provide at least a snack or store bought food from

†††† other establishments.


5.Only 5 of the 38 establishments have a security officer on-site.


6.On average there are 46 gaming machines per establishment.


7.On average there are 1.7 employees per establishment.


8.Most of the establishments did not know there businessís maximum client capacity.


9.Overall, all the amusement centers are open 7 days a week.The earliest a business

†††† opens is 10 a.m.Most of the establishments do not close until 2 a.m. or later.


Keith Selman, City Planner, gave a presentation showing the different business locations, different zoning ordinances, and the building regulations that need to be adhered to when individuals occupy a building for reuse other than the intended original use of a building.




The activity that it is most accurately described under our ordinance is what you see is classified as amusement devices/arcade.He submitted a graph showing that the devices are allowed in a B1, CBD, B3, B4, M-1,M-2 and MXD.Most of the sites are in compliance with the zoning.



Parking Requirements


Staff will be using the following table to determine the amount of parking spaces required for these uses which are under recreation or entertainment:


a.Taverns, night clubs, etc††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† One of each 100 sq. ft. of floor area, or one space for each three (3) seats, which ever is greater.


b.Bowling alleys†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Four for each alley or lane plus one additional space for each 100 sq. ft. of the area used for restaurant, cocktail lounge, or similar use.


c.Dance floors, skating rinks††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† One of each 100 sq. ft. of floor area used for the activity.



d.Outdoor swimming pools or other ††††††††††††††††††††† One for each 5 person capacity plus

†††† public or private recreation facilities ††††††††††††††††††† one for each 4 seats or one for each 30 sq. ft. floor area used for seating purposes whichever is greater.


e.Auditoriums, sport arenas††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† One of each 4 seats†††††


Occupant Load from the Laredo Land Development Code Handbook


1003.2.2Design occupant load†† In determining means of egress requirements, the

†††††††††† number of occupants for whom means of egress

†††††††††† facilities shall be provided shall be established by the

†††††††††† largest number computed in accordance with Sections

†††††††††† 1003.2.2.1 through 1003.2.2.3.


Actual number.The actual number of occupants for whom each occupied space, floor or building is designed.


The number of occupants that will occupy a space is the actual number and is only limited by Section 1003.2.2.4If the construction documents indicate that the actual occupant load of a space exceeds that determined by Sections 1003.2.2.2 and 1003.12.2.3, then the actual number if to be used as the design occupant load of that space.Where the actual number is less than the occupant load determined in accordance with Section 1003.2.2.2 or 1003.2.2.3, the largest number must be used in the egress design.For example, if a proposed conference room has a calculated occupant load Ė using 15 net square feet per person, for assembly without fixed seats, unconcentrated tables and chairs of 55, but the owner indicates that the actual number of occupants will not exceed 25, the design occupant load of the room is 55.Therefore, in accordance with Table 1004.2.1, at least two means of egress must be provided from the conference room. Conversely, if the actual occupant load planned for is 65, the design occupant load is then 65.


Number by Table


This number reflects common and traditional occupant density based on empirical data for the density of similar spaces.The number determined using the occupant load rates in Table 1003.2.2.2 generally established the minimum occupant load for which the egress facilities of the rooms, spaces and building must be designed.


It is difficult to predict the many conditions by which a space within a building will be occupied over time.An assembly banquet room in a hotel, for example, could be arranged with rows of chairs to host a business seminar one day and with mixed tables and chairs to host a dinner reception the next day.In some instances, the room will be arranged with no tables and very few chairs to accommodate primarily standing occupants.In such a situation, the egress facilities must safely accommodate the maximum number of persons permitted to occupy the space.When determining the occupant load of this type of occupancy, the various arrangements (e.g. tables and chairs, chars only, standing space) should be recognized.


Note that while some of the values in the table utilize the net floor area, most utilize the gross floor area.The occupant load determined in accordance with this section is the minimum occupant load upon which means of egress requirements are to be based.This limitation is true regardless of any indication by the owner that the space will be occupied by fewer people.


Some occupancies may not typically contain an occupant load totally consistent with the occupant load density factors of Table 1003.2.2.2 Any special considerations for such unique uses must be documented and justified.Additionally, the owner must be aware that such special considerations will impact the future use of the building with respect to the means of egress and other protection features.


Fire Codes


Luis Sosa, Fire Chief, gave the following presentation:


Once an inspector visits the site, he discusses any violations and gives the business person a time-line to comply with the ordinances.Businesses are cited for non-compliance after several warnings.He submitted a list of violations which were found upon inspections:


1.Accumulation of empty boxes, trash, rubbish, paper etc.

2.Combustible items stored under stairs.

3.Merchandise crowded: obstructing aisles.

4.Objects blocking the EXIT egress.

5.EXIT doors blocked.

6.EXIT doors do not swing outward.

7.EXITS locked during business hours.

8.No EXITS and/or emergency lights.

9.Exits and/or emergency light not working.

10.Chemically treated dust mops and gas rags not stored in metal containers with lid.

11.Inadequate EXIT (s).

12.Lighting devices improperly installed.

13.Lighting devices too close to stock.

14.Junction boxes, light switches and electrical outlets do not have safety covers.

15.Need address on rear and/or front of building.

16.All permanent wiring and equipment not wired in conduit.

17.Ceiling tiles are missing.

18.Proper clearance from ceiling to stock not maintained.

19.Need 6Ē red-letter EXIT signs.

20.Daycares must have safety caps on all base plugs.

21.Gas lines must be tested by a licensed plumber.

22.Certificated of Occupancy not displayed.

23.Operating without a permit.

24.Need to maintain good housekeeping throughout building.

25.Electrical wiring was not to code.

26.Accumulation of grease on equipment.

27.Grease found on filters, ducts, and hood.

28.Hood over stove and deep fat fryers do not meet NFPA 96.

29.No automatic fire extinguishing system in accordance with NFPA.

30.Fire extinguishers need recharging.

31.Fire extinguishers have not been checked a licensed inspector on an annual basis.

32.Fire extinguishers are blocked.

33.No fire extinguisher in building, Required.

34.Pressurized cylinders are not anchored.

35.Sprinkler system requires inspection by a licensed contractor.

36.Access to sprinkler is blocked.


Food Handlers


Dr. Hector Gonzalez, Director of Health Department, discussed Food Handlers Regulations as stipulated in the following ordinance:


Ordinance No.2002-O-148


Amending section 13.21.(Definitions of article II.Food products establishments, division 1.Generally of Chapter 13, Food and Food products, of the code of Ordinances to revise the definition of a food products establishment, providing for a publication and effective date.


Whereas, to ensure public health standards, safety, and disease prevention, the director of the City of Laredo Health Department has determined that it is necessary to revise the definition of food products establishment in the code of ordinances, and;


Whereas, the Health Director has determined that a clarification in the definition of food products establishment with make the definition consistent with state law; and


Whereas, the Health Director has also determined that such revision and clarification would make it easier for the determination of a food products establishment and licensing of a food products establishment.




Now therefore be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Laredo:


Section 1Amendment,


That Section 13.21 of the Code of Ordinances be and is herby amended to read as follows:


Food products establishment shall mean and include any place or establishment occupied, used or maintained for the purpose of selling, offering for sale, exposing for sale, or keeping with the intention of selling, or manufacturing for sale, any food product, such as meat markets, butcher shops, fish markets, fakeries, confectioneries, ice cream foodstuffs; hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, fruit markets, vegetable markets, vegetable vinegar or pickle factories, and all similar businesses handling or having to do with keeping, storing, manufacturing, preparing, handling, distributing, selling, servicing or offering for sale of any food products as herein defined, whether raw, cooked or otherwise prepared, or any liquid intended as a food or drink for human beings, and all places and premises connected with any such room and rooms.The term shall include an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, or otherwise provides food for human consumption.


Article II.Food Products Establishments


Division 1.Generally


Section 13-21 Definitions


As used in this article, the following terms shall have the indicated meanings:


Food products shall mean or include any substance, whether solid or liquid and whether of animal or vegetable origin, intended to be used or commonly used as food or drink for human beings or for human consumption.


Food products establishments shall mean and include any place or establishment occupied, used or maintained for the purpose of selling, offering for sale, exposing for sale, or keeping with the intention of selling, or manufacturing for sale, any food products, such as meat markets, butcher shops, fish markets, fakeries, confectioneries, ice cream factories, places for restaurants, grocery stores, fruit markets, vegetable markets, vegetable and fruit vendors peddling by wagon or otherwise, soda fountains, bottling works, vinegar or pickle factories, and all other businesses handling or having to do with food stuffs, and shall include every room used for the purpose of any such business in the keeping, storing, manufacturing, preparing, handling, distributing, selling, serving or offering for sale of any food products as herein defined, whether raw, cooked or otherwise prepared, or any liquid intended as a food or drink for human beings, and all places and premises connected with any such room or rooms.


Sec. 13-22 Screening


(a)Required.No person shall establish, maintain or operate within the city any food products establishment, as defined in this article, without first having the place of business thoroughly screened and kept free at all time from flies and other pests.


b.Exception.Outdoor or open-air serving areas directly connected to a restaurantís enclosed room or rooms are exempted from the screening requirement provided that the restaurantís open-air or outdoor serving are is approved by the Health Department in writing on the restaurantís city food license.


Sec. 13.23Penalty for violation of article.


Every person violating the provisions of this article shall be deemed guilty of an offense and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not less than five dollars and not more than two hundred dollars and each day such food products establishment shall be conducted without a license shall be a separate offense.


Amusement redemption machine defined


†††† Amusement Redemption Machine


1.An amusement redemption machine is a skill or pleasure coin-operated machine

††††† that is designed, made, and adapted solely for bona fide amusement purposes, and

††††† that by operation of chance or a combination skill and chance affords the user, in

††††† addition to any right of replay, an opportunity to receive exclusively non-cash

††††† merchandise prizes, toys, or novelties, or a representation of value redeemable for

††††† those items.


2.Coin operated machine Ė A coin operated machine includes machine or device

†††††††† †††††††††††††operated by the payment or insertion of paper currency or any other consideration.


3.Representation of Value Ė A representation of value includes a gift certificate or gift

†††† card that is presented to a merchant in exchange for merchandise.


††††† Excluded Machines Ė An amusement redemption machine does not include:


1.a machine that awards the use non-cash merchandise prizes, toys, or novelties

†††††† solely and directly from the machine, including claw, crane or similar machines;

†††††† nor


2.a machine from which the opportunity to receive non-cash merchandise prizes,

toys, or novelties, or a representation of value redeemable for those items,varies

depending upon the userís ability to throw, roll, flip, toss, hit, or drop a ball or

other physical object into the machine or a pat thereof, including basketball,

skeeball, golf, bowling, pusher, or similar machines.


Allan McGraw, Assistant City Attorney, explained what surrounding towns are doing with the amusement redemption machines.


Cm.E.Valdez encouraged the public for input in regards to the amusement machines.If there are no benefits to the community, he stated the city needs to control their hours of operations, the distance requirements from schools and churches, and make sure that minors do not enter the establishments.


Veronica Urbano, Acting Budget Director, gave the following report:


Projected Revenue vs. Proposed Costs Comparative Analysis for Amusement Red. Machine Inspections


Preliminary Revenue Projections


Rates per Machine††††††††††††††††††† Preliminary ††††††††††††††††† Preliminary

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Count of ††††††††††††††††††††† Projected Revenue

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Machines††††††††††††††††††††† Revenue


$100.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $175,000.00

$125.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $218,750.00

$150.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $262,500.00

$175.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $306,250.00

$200.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†† ††††††††††††††††††††††† $350.000.00

$225.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $393,750.00

$250.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $437,500.00

$275.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $481,250.00

$300.00†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1,750†††††††††††††††††††††††††† $525,000.00


Total Cost of Proposed Personnel & Mileage for Inspections



Annual Salary

Corresponding Benefits

Total/Cost Year

Total Cost


Inspector (Temp)





Inspector (Temp)





Clerk I




















Total Proposed







††††††††††† Veronica Urbano continued to explain the duties of the inspectors for the machines.††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Discussion


Mayor Flores said the issues of the redemption machines need serious attention by the state because Texas is virgin soil when it comes to the control of such businesses.It may be premature for the City to get involved without the strength of the legislature.She mentioned Las Vegas is very controlled and therefore very safe.


Larry Dovalina, City Manager, informed Council that the District Attorneyís office has closed several establishments that are issuing cash to individuals.He also stated that he had met with the Chief Appraiser, Sergio Delgado, who confirmed that the businesses are not listed on the personal property tax roll.



Juan Narvaez, owner of Jokerís Wild, said that he employees 25 individuals and pays them more than minimum wage.He said the businesses do benefit the community of Laredo.Most of the individuals that participate in the businesses are there for entertainment purposes only.He went on to say the atmosphere provides a friendly environment where individuals can socialize with family and friends.He stressed that safety for his clients is very important to him.††


Carlos Golarte, owner of Winnerís Corner Amusement Center, spoke in favor of the entertainment businesses.He said he runs a very clean and safe operation employing 27 individuals that earn well above minimum wage.He noted the pay ratio for his business is 98.9 percent.He stressed the biggest winner from such establishment is the local economy.


Rogelio Astudillo, spoke in favor of the new entertainment centers.


Cm.E.Valdez said there needs to be moderation and control.If we donít step in and regulate and try to control this and bring some order into it, the whole operation would be like a wayward car without any direction.


Sergio Maldonado, owner of Mystery Game Room, noted that the businesses are great for bonding families and friends.


Cm.J.Valdez noted that the City has ordinances in place that should assist with the inspections and regulating of the businesses.He said the City would be better off to hire more building inspectors who can inspect more than just the entertainment machines.


Mayor Flores asked Council if they would be in favor of a minimal permit fee for the machines.She said the additional monies would assist the departments with the current ordinances.


Larry Dovalina, City Manager, said that some of the businesses do not comply and are not law abiding.The City does need to generate funds to pay inspectors to visit the establishments to enforce ordinances created by the City.


Cm.Belmares said the City needs to make sure we have enough manpower to handle the additional inspections.Safety should be the Councilís priority and additional staff should be readily available to inspect the businesses.Creating a tracking mechanism to make sure that everything is in place would benefit the City.


Cm.Ramirez said he was against hiring more enforcement officers.He said he feels the City staff is attacking individuals who are prospering.He said that the current code enforcement officers for the City are not doing their job.††

Larry Dovalina, said that staff is not creating a nitch ordinance for a particular type of establishment, we are trying to create the revenue stream to continue enforcement of the existing ordinance that are already on the books.At no point in time did you hear any of City staff make suggestions as to whether it is legal or illegal. There are establishments out there that do and some that do not comply with the ordinances.


Motion to return to Council with an ordinance that will reflect their concerns expressed at a workshop held to discuss and permit fees and operations for amusement devices.


Moved:Cm.J. Valdez

Second:†† Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

For:†††† 8†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Against:0††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abstain:0


IV.†††††† Executive Session


The City Council hereby reserves the right to go into executive session at any time during this public meting, is such is requested by the City Attorney or other legal counsel for the City, pursuant to his and 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.


V.††††††† Adjournment††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Time:7:40 p.m.


††††††††††† Motion to adjourn.


††††††††††† Moved:Mayor Pro Tempore Agredano

††††††††††† Second:Cm.E.Valdez

††††††††††† For:†††† 7†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Against:0††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abstain:0


I, Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary, do hereby certify that the above minutes contained in pages 01 to 10 are true, complete and correct proceedings of the City Council Workshop held on the 7th day of January, 2003.




††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† _________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Gustavo Guevara, Jr.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† City Secretary