AUGUST 9, 2004

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:


            Elizabeth G.  Flores,                                                                 Mayor

            Alfredo Agredano,                                                                    Council Member, District I

            Hector Garcia,                                                                          Council Member, District II

            John C.  Galo,                                                                          Council Member, District III

            Johnny Amaya,                                                             Mayor Pro Tem, District IV

            Johnny Rendon                                                             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,                                                                       Deputy City Manager

            Jaime Flores,                                                                            City Attorney




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





            A.  Introduction of the budget by City Manager Larry Dovalina, including budget process, vision and goals, debt service, financial policies, and proposed personnel changes.


                 Larry Dovalina, City Manager, read the following statement:


                “Honorable Mayor Elizabeth G.  Flores and Members of the City Council:


Laredo is experiencing some of the most dynamic and exciting times we have ever seen!  While some of what our community faces is challenging, together, we forge the necessary paths of progress, keeping with the fighting, rugged spirit of our ancestors that established this community over 249 years ago. 


In accordance with the local and state law, I am pleased to present for your consideration the lean Annual Operating Budget for the fiscal year October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.


As we continue to provide services without cutting jobs, the product you see before you represents the effort and sweat of many City employees who undertook the formidable task to balance the budget.


This financial statement represents an overall plan for the City and was developed to offer a program of expenditures consistent with the growing needs of our community.  I plan to maintain the high levels of service that have catapulted our City to standout positions over the last few years.  Laredo created more jobs last year than any other City in the state.  The Texas Work Force Commission reported Laredo created 3, 100 new jobs and had the most percentage of growth in new employment.  That’s probably why last year the Gateway City was named the “Best Performing City” in the state of Texas and 7th in the nation in the areas of job creation, economic growth and thriving businesses.


Policy Statements and Goals


As the chief operating administrator of the city, I have implemented measures that ensure staff has instituted the strategic plan, adopted by the Mayor and City Council in December 2003, that addresses policies and one-to-five year goals.  The budget process incorporated these future achievements into action and critically evaluates the effectiveness of existing programs to assess resource allocation and ensure successful accomplishment.  The following highlights demonstrate the integration of the strategic plan into the budget.


Paths to security:  Public Safety


The City continues to develop the City’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) philosophy, by building police workstations in strategic locations and working through Community Oriented Policing Service Grants.  Three new police workstations to be located at 5210 Hwy 359, 9402 NE Bob Bullock Loop and 13301 Mines road will open in the new fiscal year.  Police Trust Fund (PTF) money was allocated for the construction of each station, showing a zero impact on the budget.  Fifteen (15) Patrol Officer Cadets will be added to the Police force thanks to a $1,141,000 COPS grant acceptance for the next three years.


The proposed FY 2005 budget includes 385 full time peace officers and 333 full time certified firefighters and emergency personnel, which includes an additional Deputy Fire Chief.  Both Police and Fire have increased their strength by 47 and 62 respectively.  Total strength for the Police, after the addition of the 15 Patrol Officer, will be 400.  Ambulance service and emergency medical technicians will continue to be a major component of the Fire Department.


Forty-seven new police sedans will be patrolling Laredo’s streets in the new fiscal year and other plans to enhance public safety are underway.  For example, staff and I are currently working on requesting assistance from the State Home Land Security Grant Funds to implement a citywide interoperability communication system.  This would entail a major upgrade to the current communication system to a new 800 MHz trunking system.  The total project cost is estimated at $8,000,000 of which $5,000,000 is being requested from the State Home Land Security Grant Fund and $3,000,000 of which $3,000,000 to be funded with a proposed 2005 Certificate of Obligation (C0).


A bold measure to reinforce and better stabilize Police efforts to combat narcotics related criminal activity is evident in this budget document.  Eight vacant positions were filled with former members of the multi-agency narcotics taskforce because of the need to augment our current in-house narcotics squad to substantially increase local productivity output in the number of investigations, arrests, money seizures and having the unit’s availability for targeting street level neighborhood drug activities.  This allows for other outside agencies to take a greater role in the multi-agency task force and betters the City’s position to attain local goals in the war on drugs.  The Laredo Police Department’s paramount objective is to cost effectively regain local control over the narcotics enforcement needs of our community.  This could result in asset seizure proceeds going directly to the Police Trust Fund.  The PTF has already afforded Laredo millions of dollars worth of equipment and departmental enhancements that could not have been attained without the alternative funding source.


On the fire front, staff is focusing on promoting the Laredo International Fire & Law Enforcement Training Facility and providing additional revenues for General Fund in the process.  To fortify their marketing efforts, the Fire Department partnered with the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) to establish a contract with them to conduct training in the facility.


Progressive Inland Port


As the largest inland port on the Southern United States border, transportation remains a priority focus for the Gateway City.  In 2003, North and Southbound pedestrian crossings totaled over 4.1 million, non-commercial crossings totaled over 8.5 million, and commercial truck crossings totaled over 2.7 million.  Laredo will maintain this coveted title now and in the future with the addition of another international crossing and major enhancements to both of its dedicated non-commercial bridges.


As you know, the City of Laredo obtained approval from the Texas Transportation Commission on May 27, 2004 on the presidential permit application for a proposed fifth international bridge.  This approval cleared the way for continued processing of the City’s application previously submitted to the U. S. Department of State.  It is anticipated that the city will successfully obtain the necessary Presidential Permit within the next fiscal year.  Subsequent steps would include initiation of design and securing a U. S. Coast Guard Permit and clearance from the International Boundary and Water Commission. 


The Laredo Bridge System (LBS) continues with improvements through the El Portal project, where Bridge I, Gateway to the Americas, will get a $19-million facelift.  This aesthetic process goes beyond skin-deep improvements and also offers a much-needed boost to downtown business and commerce, by developing an area that will add momentum to the revitalization of this important business sector.  Lanes will be added to Bridge II, Lincoln-Juarez, for processing north – and south-bound traffic as well as an enhanced technological processing equipment package, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, that will allow pre-approved frequent travelers to enter the U. S. without having to be stopped and inspected.  The big picture means added crossings, revenue and enhanced customer service, making Laredo an international port to be reckoned with today and beyond. 


Reminding state and federal legislators of this important status and its impact on Texas and the U. S. is an ever-evolving process.  Laredo stays at the forefront of those minds by actively participating with the North American International Trade Corridor Partnership, Texas border Infrastructure Coalition, Border Trade Alliance, Texas Municipal League, national League of Cities, the U. S. Conference of Mayors, Texas City Management Association, and the International City Management Association.  In addition, the proposed FY 2005 budget includes $390,200 for legislative support services to federal and state consultants.  The City will continue its active involvement in all government areas to better serve the citizens of Laredo.


While Laredo maintains its international infrastructure, it must concentrate within City limits on its thoroughfares.  The FY03-04 Transit system budget includes $6,000,000 for the construction, repair and maintenance of City streets.  These funds are designated for 15 projects such as the Calton Rd. reconstruction, Hillside/McPherson Intersection and Santa Maria reconstruction to name a few.


Riverfront Revitalization


The aforementioned El Portal project also includes components that address one of the strategic planning goals to develop structure and staffing to insure that the Rio Grande riverfront achieves its full potential by providing recreational place and added ecologically sound amenities to the Gateway City.  This project would also address quality of life issues while simultaneously enhancing the riverfront for tourists and Laredoans. 


As you also know, recreational green space along the City’s riverbanks and creeks, like Zacate and Chacon, will soon tie in all waterways through a linear park.  This added recreational space would draw people back to the City’s most precious of natural resources, hopefully instilling a renewed sense of pride and stewardship in Laredo.  During FY2004 the City purchased 59.85 acres of vega land in order to continue the goals of the strategic plan.


Paths to Diversification


On the path to progress,  Laredo continues to see new business setting up shop in all sectors of the City.  In 2003-2004, Laredo saw some additions to its business landscape:  Starbucks; Papa John’s Pizza, Marble Slab Creamery, Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Krispy Kreme Donuts; Red Lobster; Family Nissan, and the Bank of America to name a few.  Many of these new businesses first scouted Laredo and spoke with the professionals at the Laredo Development Foundation (LDF) to determine the viability of the Laredo market.  In partnering with them, Laredo has greatly benefited from the expanded tax base.  Therefore, the City of Laredo will maintain its portion of funding to LDF.  The Laredo Development Foundation continues to work with various companies who have shown interest in establishing new restaurants, hotels, retail outlets, and service industries in Laredo that would provide new value added jobs and more importantly a diversified economy. 


The City offers a tax abatement program for new businesses.  Although it has had a minimal impact on tax revenues, thus far, the city continues to provide an incentive for business expansion.  Qualified businesses are eligible to reduce up to 100% for up to five years of taxable value provided they meet certain requirements.  Each applicant would have to invest a minimum amount of money and create a fixed number of full time jobs.  The City is currently considering several applications for tax year 2005.


Laredo’s progressive paths are not limited to land; another major player in economic diversification is the Laredo International Airport.  It has recently exceeded the air-cargo warehouse capacity of both San Antonio International and Austin Bergstrom International Airports.  Due to major enterprises and private investment, the airport boasts 366,000 available square feet.  The LIA has also experience an increase in passenger traffic for all carriers.  This success will continue due to the millions in grant funds awarded to Laredo from the Federal Aviation Administration.  Some of the grants include discretionary funds, and money dedicated to specific safety and security enhancements of the facility. 


Parks & Paths:  Building Social Infrastructure


Keeping with the strategic plan, parks and recreational facilities have abounded over the last year and this aggressive process will stay on track next year.  In the works is a proposed Tax Supported CO for FY 2005 that includes over $2,000,000 for parkland and amenities to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Laredo.  These specific plans are in the Capital Improvement Program.  As of June of 2004 the city has invested over $4,000,000 in the following parks:  Inner City Park, Eastwood Park, Mario Tijerina Park, El Cuatro park, and Lafeyette & Farias Park.


Clearing the Path to a Clean City


Significant strides along the path to a cleaner more aesthetically pleasing Laredo have been made and the FY 2005 budget will continue to build upon the already strong foundation set forth by the Mayor and the City Council.  One prime example of this is the Green Space Preservation Ordinance.  One of the first of its kind in Texas, it will aid in the creation and preservation of green spaces around creeks and waterways, which will not only enhance Laredo’s looks, but also provide greater recreational amenities for its citizens. 


In a greater effort to engage the public in community stewardship, the City is establishing a Keep Laredo Beautiful affiliate organization, a non-profit group.  This organization will focus on beautification efforts, especially efforts on reducing litter, and promoting community pride.  In order to develop lasting strategies for a clean city, the goal of the entity will concentrate on developing partnerships between the City, citizens, and the private sector. 


Staying on the path to a cleaner City, a litter abatement ordinance focusing on commercial by-products is in the works.  Proposed language would be a compromise between business and enforcement authority to address cleanup efforts by commercial retailers.  The ordinance is currently under review by the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee and will be presented to the Mayor and City Council.


Revenues & Expenditures for Major Funds


General Fund




The City’s General Fund continues to be challenged by the demand for more city services and infrastructure.  As the City continues to grow, the demand for more police and fire protection, garbage pick-up, and larger facilities to better service our citizens continues to grow as well.  The current year, FY 2003-2004, tax rate is $0.641761 per $100 assessed valuation.  The FY 2004-2005 property values are projected to increase by 7.3% over the estimated FY2003-04 amended valuation.  The Webb County Appraisal District (WCAD) provided an estimate of 95% of valuations for FY 2004-05 of $6,520,643,200.00.  The increase in valuation is due to projected new improvements and revaluation by the WCAD. 


During FY 2003-2004, sales tax revenue has stayed in line with the growth that was projected.  Sales tax revenue is estimated to come in at $19,233,114, which translates into $81,537 or .4% over budgeted sales tax revenue.  FY 2004-2005 projects sales tax revenue at $20,386,101, which is a $1,153,987 or 6% increase over FY 2003-2004 estimates.  The General Fund receives a transfer from the Bridge Fund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of Bridge Toll  receipts.  The FY 2004-2005 budget reflects a transfer from the Bridge Fund of $16,972,489, which translates into a $414,513, or 2.5% increase over FY2003-04 estimates.


Estimated revenues for FY 2003-04 are $92,629,186.  The proposed FY 2004-2005 budget proposes revenues of $98,880,183.  The projected increase in revenues is $4,869,645 or 5.3% over estimated FY 2003-2004, excluding one-time revenues.




The FY 2004-2005 proposed budget includes a 2.3% cost of living increase to all city employees (except Fire and Police), an average 3% merit increase, a 5% increase for health insurance premiums for all city employees and a .49% increase for the Texas Municipal Retirement System, which translates to an increase of $1,648,019.


The Police contract called for a salary survey of the index cities in FY 2003-2004 to determine the salary rate increases for FY 2005.  The results translated to an increase of $1,069,125.  In FY 2004-05 proposed budget Police overtime was increased by $500,000.


Measures to reduce the impact of the aforementioned expenditure increases in FY2004-2005 include the deletion of seven (7) full time and 11.78 full time positions were frozen for the FY2004-2005 for a savings of %550,898. The proposed Third Party was also reduced. 


Estimated expenditures for FY2003-2004 are $91,732,812 which represents a decrease of $3,331,391 or 3.5% under FY 2002-2003.  The proposed FY 2004-2005 budget proposes expenditures of $98,880,183.  The proposed increase in expenditures is $7,147,371 or 7.8% over estimated FY 2003-2004.


Hotel-Motel Fund


Progressing along the path of promotion, Laredo must sell its attractions and events unique to the Gateway City and this two-nation shopping destination.


The Hotel-Motel Fund provides for the Convention and visitors Bureau (CVB) and various third party agencies that promote tourism, as well as, historical aspects of Laredo.  In addition, the General Fund receives funding for City Promotion and the Civic Center receives funding for operations, debt service, and CIP projects.  The Public Access Channel receives funding from Hotel-Motel for the promotional programming of the City that is produced and aired on our local public access channels.


Hotel-Motel Occupancy Tax revenues for FY 2004-2005 are projected to meet $3,095,943 which represents an increase of $129,628 or 4.4% over last year’s estimated occupancy tax revenue. 


Laredo has done such a great job of selling itself and has reached such significant milestones that added monies are proposed for the FY 2004-2005 budget to accommodate the Miss Texas USA Pageant, Laredo’s 250th Anniversary Celebration, and the CHL All Star Game.  It is an increase of $350,555 or 17.4% more than the estimated fiscal year 2003-2004 for the CVB.


Parking Meters Fund


The mission of the Parking Meters Fund is to facilitate and improve parking availability by maintaining and properly enforcing parking regulations in the Central Business District.  Parking meter collections revenue for proposed FY2004-2005 budget reflects a $25,221 or 4.4% increase compared to FY2002-2003 actual.  In addition, FY 2003-2004 parking lot facilities revenue is estimated to be at $512,542, which translates into an $84,542, or 19.8% increase over FY2003-2004 amended budget.


Estimated total expenditures for FY2003-2004 reflect $2,117,625, which translates into a $486,838 or a 29.9% increase over fiscal year 2003 actual total expenditures.


General Obligation Debt Service


During FY2003-2004, The city issued new debt in the amount of $13,535,000 for various projects including $6,015,000 for 25 automated garbage trucks, $6,100,000 for construction, repair and maintenance of City Streets, and $1,420,000 for the purchase of additional land for parking facilities in downtown which will help stimulate downtown revitalization. 





Bridge Fund


Estimated toll receipt revenues for FY2003-2004 are $33,115,951 which represents an increase of $678,445 for a 2.1% over FY2002-2003 actual toll receipt revenue collected.  However, staff estimates a revenue budget shortfall of approximately $391,421 in FY 2003-2004 compared to FY 2003-2004 original budget.  The proposed FY 2004-2005 budget projects expenditures of $33,922,645.  The increase in expenditures is $735,981 or 2.2% over the estimated FY 2003-2004.


Estimated expenditures of FY2003-2004 are $33,922,645.  Estimated total expenditures are expected to fall below budgeted expenditures by $509,508 or 1.5% as a contingency plan to cut back expenditures due to the shortfall in projected revenues.  The proposed FY 2004-2005 budget projects expenditures of $33,922,645.  The increase in expenditures is $735,981 or 2.2 over estimated FY 2003-2004.


Closing Comments


The total of operating expenditures and transfers is $344,620,114.  I am proud to present a balanced and lean budget that was the culmination of a tremendous effort on the part of all City departments.  While each department knows the path to progress respectively, the team approached the task with the greater good of the community at heart.  I would like to call particular attention to the dedication, commitment, and the long hours of hard work by the Budget Department, as well as, the financial Services Department, and the Administrative Services Department.


I would like to thank all City employees dedicated to providing quality municipal services to Laredoans and who are committed to the success of our City as we strive to keep pace with the tremendous progress of Laredo.  Together, we will forge the new paths necessary for triumph, started by Don Tomas Sanchez and his family 249 years ago.”




Larry Dovalina,

City Manager


Noe Hinojosa, Financial Advisor for the City of Laredo, explained that he is not an employee of the City of Laredo but serves as extended staff  that must review and scrutinize debt service so he can make financial recommendations to Council.  He must assure that all figures that are presented to Council are consistent with the figures that were presented over the past ten (10) to twenty (20) years in terms of issues of debt.   He added that despite the fact that Laredo has met some unexpected challenges over the last two or three years that the growth has been sufficient enough to compensate where those challenges have been presented before Council.  The City has a sheet of liability of $300,000,000 which is comprised of various forms.  The City has a property tax supported debt which a portion of the tax rate is dedicated to the retirement debt.   Basically, the budget and the service fund section of the budget will illustrate that $190,000,000 of the $300,000,000 is for property tax supported debt. 



Larry Dovalina, City Manager, explained to the Council that he is in the process of reorganizing several City Departments.  He noted that he is creating a Financial Services Group which includes Finance, Budget, and MIS and they will be under the supervision of Heberto Ramirez.  He announced that Jessica Hein will be promoted to Executive Assistant to the City Manager and she will be in charge of Special Projects, 911, Fleet, and Parking Divisions.  Finally, he said that he will be reclassifying other departments and rewarding other employees; however, he will approach the Council before announcing the changes to the general public. 


            B.  Ad-valorem tax rate.


                 Elizabeth Martinez, Tax Collector Assessor, gave the following presentation:


                 Significant improvements in our Operations


                 Electronic Processing of


                 Mortgage Payments Files

                 Name and address changes reported by the WCAD

                 Pay Station Utility Payments

                 Tax Credit Refunds

                 Interfacing Hotel Motel Receivable in the IS400


                 Current Year Collection Rate W/Original Roll


                 Tax Year                                         Collection Rate                         %Increase

                                                                                                                        From Previous Year


                 2003                                               96.82%                                                            1.46%

                 2002                                               95.36%                                                            (.55%)

                 2001                                               95.91                                                               .87%

                 2000                                               95.04


                 Prior Year Collection Rate w/Original Roll


                 Tax Year                                         Collection Rate                         % Increase


                 2003                                               40.31%                                                8.00%

                 2002                                               32.31%                                                1.83%

                 2001                                               30.48%                                                1.44%

                 2000                                               29.04%                                               


                 Truth in Taxation

                 A Guide for Setting Tax Rates


The Texas Constitution and Property Tax Code embody the concept of truth-in-taxation to require taxing units to comply with certain steps in adopting their tax rates.




Truth in Taxation Purpose


To make taxpayers aware of tax rate proposals, and

To allow taxpayers, in certain cases, to roll back or limit a tax increase.


Four principals in Truth in Taxation


Property owners have the right to know of increases in property value and estimated taxes that could result from the new value.

Most taxing units must publish effective and rollback rates before adopting an actual tax rate. 

Most taxing units must publish special notices and hold a public hearing before adopting a tax rate that exceed the lower of the rollback rate or 103 percent of the effective tax rate.

If a taxing unit adopts a rate that exceed the rollback rate, voters may petition for an election to limit the rate to the rollback rate.


Effective Tax Rate


The effective tax rate is a calculated rate that would provide the taxing unit with about the same amount of revenue it received in the past year, on properties taxes in both years.  (Does not include property annexed or new improvements built after January 2003.)


Rollback Tax Rate


The rollback rate is a calculated maximum rate allowed by law without voter approval.  It provides the taxing unit with about the same amount of tax revenue it spent the previous year for day to day operations, plus an extra eight (8) percent for those operations, and sufficient taxes to pay its debs in the coming year.


Preliminary Effective & Rollback Tax Rate Comparisons


                                                                   Tax Year                                  Tax Year

                                                                   2003                                        2004

Effective Tax Rate                                       .602758                                   .605067

Rollback Rate                                              .641761                                   .638270

                Adopted Tax                                                .641761                                   .638270



                 City of Laredo Tax Rate History


                 Tax Year                             Rate                             Increase/Decrease from Prior year


                 2004                                   .638270                       (.003491)

                 2003                                   .641761                       .011227

                 2002                                   .630534                       .54176

                 2001                                   .576358                       .00000

                 2000                                   .576358                       .007140


            C.  Personnel issues, including proposed employee pay plan and employee health and   

                  benefits plan.


                 Dan Migura, Administrative Services Director, gave the following presentation: 


                 Proposed Pay Plan


                 2.3% (COLA) Cost of Living Adjustment

                 Effective Date 09/26/04

                 Except Unless otherwise addressed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement

                 Retain the Current Merit Pay Plan


                 Cost of Living Adjustment Summary


                 2004-2005 2.3% Proposed COLA


                 2003-2004 1.6%

                 2002-2003  2.8%

                 2001-2002  3.0%

                 2000-2001 1.6%


                 Entry Level Wages of Index Cities


                 San Antonio                                                            $8.75                           Laborer

                 El Paso                                                                    $8.57                           Laborer

                 McAllen                                                                  $8.30                           Laborer

                 Laredo                                                                    $7.48                           Laborer

                 Brownsville                                                  $7.43                           Laborer

                 Harlingen                                                                 $7.31                           Laborer

                 Corpus Christi                                                         $7.23                           Laborer


                 Average hourly salary $ 7.93


                 Entry Level Wages of Local Entities


                 Location                                                                  Title                              Salary


                 Webb County                                                          Custodian                     $8.25

                 City of Laredo                                                         Custodian                     $7.48

                 L. I. S. D.                                                                Custodian                     $6.51

                 L. C. C.                                                                  Custodian                     $6.40

                 TAMIU                                                                   Groundskeeper $6.19

                 U. I. S. D.                                                               Custodian                     $6.23


                 Merit Distribution


                 Percentage of Increase                                 Evaluation                     Evaluations Procd.


                 0%                                                              2.9 or less                                10

                                                                                    constantly below


                 1%                                                              3.0 – 3.49                                35

                                                                                    Occasionally below


                  2%                                                             3.5 – 3.99                                115

                                                                                    Meets all standards                  

                 3%                                                              4.0 – 4.49                                382

                                                                                    Occasionally exceeds               



                 4%                                                              4.5 – 5.0                                  449

                                                                                    Consistently Exceeds   


Based on 991 Annual Performance Evaluations received between 10-01-03 through 8-8-04


Motion to instruct staff to amend the ordinance regarding director evaluations.  The amendment should allow for subordinate employees to evaluate their directors.  The amendment should provide information to the City Manager that will assist him in which would allow provide City Manager information on ways to improve departments.    


Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Valdez

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0


Motion to instruct City Manager to implement recommended pay plan.


Moved:  Cm.  Ramirez

Second:  Cm.  Rendon

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0




Escalating Medical and Prescription Cost Trends continue to Deplete the City’s Health and Benefits Fund


Since the plan was implemented in 1989 the following modifications have occurred:


1991 Rate Adjustment

1996 $10.00 Physician Office Co-Payment Introduced

October 2000 10% Rate increase

October 2001 20% Rate Increase and Plan Modification

October 2002 10% Rate Increase

October 2003 5% Increase and Plan Modification


Employee health Benefits Plan Adjustments Last Year


Increased Medical Contribution Rate by 5%

Increased Preventative/Wellness Benefits from $200 to $400

Increased Dental Contribution Rate by 10%


Options Considered


Increase Deductible

Increase Out of Pocket Maximum

Change Prescription Plan

       Mac B to Mac A or C

Increase Medical Contribution Rate (20% to 35%)


Proposed Employee Health Benefits Plan


Increase Medical Contribution Rate by 5%


Proposed Dependent Medical Contribution


                                           Current             Proposed                     Adjustment


Regular                                $108.97                       $114.42                       $5.45



Bi-Weekly Deduction


Civil Service                        $98.05                         $102.95                       $4.90



Bi-Weekly Deduction


Medical Claims


00-01                      $7,919,202  (Amount budgeted $5,750,000)

01-02                      $6,512,472  (Amount budgeted $6,612,500)

02-03                      $6,798,080  (Amount budgeted $6,804,375)

03-04                      $7,488,369  (Amount budgeted $7,144,594 Pending 2 reporting months)            


Prescription Claims


00-01                      $1,463,706      (Amount Budgeted $924,300)

01-02                      $1,175,257      (Amount Budgeted $1,127,646)

02-03                      $1,330,969      (Amount Budgeted $1,480,384)

03-04                      $1,165,467      (Amount Budgeted $1,544,403)


Stop Loss


00-01                      $566,393         (Amount Budgeted $467,337)

01-02                      $938,478         (Amount Budgeted $701,615)

02-03                      $946,718         (Amount Budgeted $1,127,629)

03-04                      $746,712         (Amount Budgeted $1,296,773)



Motion to instruct City Manager to implement recommended medical contribution rate

increase of five (5) percent.


Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Garcia

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0




Grade 23 Entry Level Employee

Cola & Merit Impact


                                                       Hourly Rate                              Annual Rate


Current Hourly Rate                        $7.31                                       $15,204.80

+With 2.3% Cola                            $7.48                                       $15,554.51


+With 3% Merit Increase                $7.70                                       $16,021.15



Monetary Impact of an employee with Dependents (2.3% Cola, 3% Merit Increase and

5% Medical Contribution Adjustment)


                                                       Laborer Grade 23


                                                       Hourly Rate                              Annual Salary


Current Hourly Rate                        $7.31                                       $15,204.80

With Cola 2.3%                              $7.48                                       $15,554.51

With Cola & 3% Merit                    $7.70                                       $16,021.15

Net Increase                                    $.39                                         $816.35 (5.4%)

-Less 5% Annual Med                                                                     $141.70

Total Annual Increase                                                                      $674.65 (4.4%)


            D.  Proposed General Fund highlights.


                 Martin Aleman, Budget Director, gave the following presentation:


                 Consolidated Budget Total Available $424,313,416


                 Permanent Fund                  $        61,821

                 Enterprise Fund                   $170,937,361

                 General Fund                       $109,796,583

                 Special Revenue                  $  87,108,655

                 Debt Service                       $  28,246,122

                 Internal Service Fund           $  23,685,656

                 Improvements Fund $    3,588,546

                 Other Programs                   $       888,672



                 Consolidated Operating Revenues $322,741,375


                 Debt Service                       13%

                 Bridge                                 11%

                 Water                                  7%

                 Transit System                     5%

                 Sewer                                 5%

                 Solid Waste             5%

                 Other                                  4%

                 Health & Benefits                4%

                 Community Development     4%

                 Sports & Community           2%

                 Risk                                    1%

                 Fleet                                    1%

                 Airport                                1%

                 Hotel Motel             1%

                 General Fund                       31%


                 Consolidated Operating Expenditures $344,620,114


                 Debt Service                       12%

                 Bridge                                 10%

                 Water                                  8%

                 Solid Waste             6%

                 Transit System                     6%

                 Sewer                                 5%

                 Other                                  5%

                 Health Benefits                    4%

                 Special Police                       4%

                 Health                                 3%

                 Sports Community               2%

                 Community Development  2%

                 Risk                                    1%

                 Airport                                1%

                 General Fund                       30%


                 General Fund Revenues


                 Charges for Bridge                          26.29%

                 Franchise Fee                                      6.1%

                 License & Permit                                 6.2%

                 Other Financing Resources      2.7%

                 Fines & Forfeits                                   2.7%

                 Rents & Royalties                                0.7%

                 Reimbursements                                  0.6%

                 Fees & Collections                              0.6%

                 Intergovernmental                                0.4%

                 Taxes                                                55.8%



                                    FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05


Property Taxes             $25,326,758                $29,243,814                $31,871,152   

General & Use Tax       $18,037,788                $19,233,114                $20,387,101

Bridge Transfer $16,218,753                $16,557,976                $16,972,489

Electric Franchise         $  3,907,595                $  4,035,177                $  4,145,912

Municipal Court            $  2,075,065                $  2,514,452                $  2,630,601

Telecommunications      $  2,673,325                $  2,683,550                $  2,809,859


Tax Rate History


                                    FY01-02                      FY02-03          FY03-04          FY04-05

Debt                             0.140480                     0.145776         0.141113         0.128323

M & O                         0.435878                     0.484758         0.500648         0.509947




            FY01-02                      FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05

            $5,095,724,179           $5,553,035,309           $6,076,978,885           $6,698,725,196


Sales Tax Trend History


                                    FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05

Arena                           $  4,509,447                $  4,810,513                $ 5,051,038

Transit                          $  4,331,368                $  4,564,295                $ 4,792,510

City                              $18,037,788                $19,233,114                $20,387,101


General Fund Expenditures


Public Safety                                                                58.8%

Traffic                                                                          3.6%

Government                                                                  12.8%

Cultural                                                                        9.7%

Other Uses                                                                   8.8%

Public Works                                                               5.8%

Health                                                                          0.5%


Personnel Cost by Activity


                                                            FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05


Public Works                           $  3,867,169                $  4,398,232                $  4,399,424

Cultural                                    $  6,160,024                $  4,872,990                $  6,509,824

Government                              $  7,665,020                $  8,603,810                $  9,863,728

Public Safety                            $49,162,062                $51,967,946                $54,483,649


Personnel Cost Civil Services vs. All Other


                                                FY01-02          FY02-03          FY03-04          FY04-05

Police & Fire                $30,237,869    $45,186,611    $47,724,278    $50,405,788

All Other                      $19,540,881    $20,631,006    $22,108,699    $24,855,852


Personnel Cost Civil Service vs. All others


FY01-02          FY02-03          FY03-04          FY04-05


            All Other                      33%                 31%                 32%                 33%

            Police/Fire                    67%                 69%                 68%                 67%


Full Time Equivalents

General Fund Only


FY01-02          FY02-03          FY03-04          FY04-05


            Public Works               134.00             117.00             118.50             105.50

            Culture                         195.56             199.56             202.67             199.18

            Government                  187.48             192.34             205.34             199.79

            Public Safety                709.00             767.50             766.25             761.42


FTE History

(All Funds)


FY01-02          FY02-03          FY03-04          FY04-05


            Transit System     187.50             189.25             181.31             179.31

            All Other                      1,198.83          1,005.03             992.99             919.92

            General Fund                1,223.04          1,276.40          1,292.76          1,265.89


Consolidated Closing Balance


                        General Fund                                                    13.70%

                        Special Revenue Funds                         34.50%

                        Debt Service                                                      5.56%

                        Enterprise Fund                                                46.18%

                        Internal Service Funds                              .98%

                        Permanent Funds                                                0.07%

                        Other Programs                                                0.01%


            E.  Engineering/Public Works Department funding and operations, and status of            

                 construction projects.


Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer & Public Works Director, gave the following presentation before the Council:


Mission Statement


To plan and implement City infrastructure, and to provide quality control/inspection of construction.



Organizational Chart


Engineering/Public Works Department


Engineering                                               Public Works


Administration                                             Administration  Street Maintenance

Design, Drafting & Surveying                       Street Construction       Street Cleaning

Construction Inspection                               Creek Maintenance      Building Rehabilitation



Performance Measures




2003-2004 – Construction Projects $7,386,000


·        Fire Station # 14

·        3 Police Substations

·        Ejido Ave. Extension

·        McPherson Acres Drainage

·        Chacon Tributary Drainage Phase II

·        Culvert Crossing at Gale

·        Cuatro Park

·        Bartlett Extension

·        Laredo Street Drainage Phase I

·        Zacate Creek Upper Reaches Pilot Channel

·        Centro Iturbide Downtown Project

·        San Francisco Xavier Road


Highlighted projects assigned to Public Works for 2003-2004 are the following:


·        World Trade Bridge Parking Lot

·        McPherson Acres Drainage Improvements

·        Chacon Tributary Drainage Improvement

·        Gale Street Drainage Improvemetns

·        Cielito Lindo/Hwy. 83 Access

·        Bartlett Avenue Extension

·        City-Wide Resurfacing Project

·        Transit Sales Sidewalks City-Wide, Chacon Creek Hike & Bike Trail, and

·        Other Recreational Parks in coordination with Park and Recreation Department


                 2003-2004 Projects Designed In-House


o       Citywide Sidewalks

o       Intersection Reconstrucitons

o       Street Recycling

o       Bartlett/Tex-Mex RR Crossing

o       Moctezuma-Flores Parking Lot

o       Bristol Road Drainage


    2003-2004 Infrastructure Improvements


     173 Projects                                                            $ 96,566,124

     133 Letters of Credit                                               $ 20,807,739

     187 Escrow Agreements                                          $   1,637,915

     3,248 Street Cut Permits                                         $        83,625


     Total                                                                       $119,095,403


     2003-2004 Infrastructure Improvements


     Paving                                                                     785 Blocks

     Sidewalks                                                                755 Blocks

     Storm Sewer                                                           63,272 LF

     Sanitary Sewer                                                        156,706 LF

     Water                                                                      194,546 LF

                 Lots (Subdivisions)                                      2,965 Lots

                 Acres (Subdivisions)                                                1,508 Acres

                 Building                                                                   39,108 SF


                 Surveying Work


                                                                        10 Month                     12 Month

                 Boundary Surveys                             60                                72

                 Construction Surveys                         87                              104

                 Street Closing                                      3                                  4

                 Misc. Surveys                                    13                                16

                 Total                                               163                              196


                 Goals & Objectives


                 To Complete 2003-2004 Projects

                 To Implement 2004-2005 Capital Improvements Plans


                 2004-2005 Transit Sales Tax Projects $6,000,000


                 Bartlett/Saunders Intersection

                 Calton Rd.  Reconstruction

                 Hillside/McPherson Intersection

                 Market/Bartlett Intersection

                 Sidewalk Ejido-Loop 20/Pine

                 Stewart Malinche Intersection

                 Santa Maria-Industrial to Del Mar

                 Buena Vista/Gustavus Intersection

                 Springfield 6 Intersections –Hillside, San Pedro, Ash, Frost, Gustavaus, Corpus Christi

                 San Eduardo- Sanchez

                 McPherson Widening – Villa/Mahogany 2200 L. F.

                 Bartlett Sandman – Hillside

                 Bus Bay US 83 @ Cielito Lindo

                 Arkansas/Clark Intersection

                 Concord Sub. @ Hwy 359 Entrance


                 Other 2004-2005 Projects


                 Bridge of Americas – El Portal

                 El Eden Park

                 Plaza Theater

                 Farias Community Center


                 An Update from the Engineering Department


                 A project status report is being submitted to the Mayor and City Council for review.


                 Public Works FY 2003-2004



                 Performance Measures


                 Sidewalk Projects                            28

                 Paving Projects                                35

                 Drainage Imp. Projects                    19

                 Curb & Gutter Projects                     5

                 Valley Gutter Projects                        4

                 Misc.  construction Projects 69

                 Total                                             160


                 Street Recycling                                    64 Blocks

                 Storm Drainage                               1,191 Inlets

                 Creek Maintenance                140 Acres

                 Building Maintenance                       1,450 Work Orders

                 Street Maint. – Pro Patches 1,550 Pot Holes

                 Street Cleaning – Sweepers 1,300 Lane/Miles

                 Right-of-Way Maintenance       85 miles

                 Branch Collection                            7,700 Tons


            F.  Bridge Department  funding and operations.


                 Rafael Garcia, Bridge Director, gave the following presentation:


                 Laredo Bridge System Budget Presentation FY 2004-2005


                 Revenue Comparisons


                 Revenue Comparison

                 Budget to Actual as of July 31, 2004



                 Budget        $27,819,439

                 Actual         $27,666,639

                                        ($152,800)     -0.5%


                 End of Year Budget to Actual Revenue Comparison FY 2003-2004


                 Budget        $33,507,372

                 Actual         $33,354,572

                                       ($152,800)     -0.5%


                 Revenue Comparisons


                 FY02-03                                         FY03-04                                    FY04-05

                 $32,437,506                                   $33,354,572                            34,188,436

                                                                        Estimated                                 Projected


                 8 Year Revenue Comparison


                 1997                       $20,312,825

                 1998                       $21,927,711

                 1999                       $26,117,813

                 2000                       $28,681,652

                 2001                       $28,982,327

                 2002                       $31,366,434

                 2003                       $32,436,276

                 2004                       $33,354,572


                 Traffic Comparisons




     FY01-02                             FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05

                 $1,454,517                         $1,396,851                  $1,445,470                  $1,481,607

                                                                                                Estimated                     Projected




                 FY01-02                             FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05

                 $7,023,501                         $7,003,582                  $7,091,706                  $7,269,000

                                                                                                Estimated                     Projected




                 FY01-02                             FY02-03                      FY03-04                      FY04-05

                 $4,101,208                         $4,028,299                  $4,175,009                  $4,279,384


                 AVI Status Report


                 Commercial Tags     6,600               66%

                 Non-Commercial     3,400               34%


                 Total AVI Tags Issued 10,000


                 AVI to Swipe Card Cost Analysis


                 89% AVI Cost Per Axle    $  .48

                 11%  Swip Card Per Axle $1.37


                 Pedestrian Processing Upgrade


                 Today’s Turnstiles

                 5 Total Coin Operated Turnstiles


                 Bridge I Upgraded Turnstile Technology


                 16 Automated Turnstiles

                 Prepaid magnetic Cards

                 No Cash Transactions

                 Continuous Flow of Traffic

                 Improved Accountability

                 4 Point of Sale Terminals

                 Proximity Card


                 AVI Tag Upgrade



                 Allegro Tag             $35.00



                 Sticker Tag                          $ 9.00


                 The Plan


                 Tomorrow               Interoperability with all Technologies

                 Yesterday                Vehicular Processing Technology AVI & WIM

                 Today                     Pedestrian Processing Technology Pre-Paid Magnetic Card


                 AVI Reader System Upgrade


                 Harris County Toll Road Authority ATA Protocol

                 North Texas Tollway Authority ATA Protocol

                 Laredo’s Allegro Tag Title 21 Protocol

                 U. S. Customs Sentri Lane Ego Protocol Bridge II

                 Mexico’s CAPUFE ATA Protocol

                 U. S. Customs Fast Lane Ego Protocol Bridge IV






                 AVI READER SYSTEM



                 Harris Council Toll Road Authority ATA Protocol 1,500,000 Tags

                 City of Laredo Bridge System Interoperable with ATA, EGO, & Title 21 Protocol

                 U. S. Customs Sentri Lane Ego Protocol Bridge II

                 U. S. Customs Fast Lane Ego Protocol Bridge IV

                 Mexico’s CAPUFE  ATA Protocol 46,000 Tags

                 North Texas Tollway Authority ATA Protocol 1,000,000 Tags


            G.  Fire Department funding and operations, including the Laredo International Fire and            

                  Law Enforcement Training Facility.


                  This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            H.  Library Department funding and operations, including third party agencies.


      This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            I.  Traffic Department funding and operations, including fleet management operations, and               parking meters.


     This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            J.  Health Department funding and operations.


                  This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            K.  Convention & Visitors Bureau Department funding and operations, including and Hotel              Occupancy Tax Fund.


                 This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            L.  Transit/El Metro funding and operations, including capital improvements.


                 This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            M.  Police Department funding and operations.


                 This item was presented on August 10, 2004.


            N.  Environmental Services Department funding and operations, including NPDES and

                  Hazmat operations.


                 This item was presented on August 11, 2004.


            O.  Parks & Recreation Department funding and operations, including Civic      

                  Center/Mercado operations.


      This item was presented on August 11, 2004.


            P.  Solid Waste Department funding and operations.


                 This item was presented on August 11, 2004.


            Q.  Utilities Department funding and operations, including capital improvements.


                 This item was presented on August 11, 2004.


            R.  Mayor and City Council Department, City Manager’s Department, Airport Department,           Budget Department, City Attorney’s Department, City Secretary’s Department,                             Community Development Department, Financial Services Department, Municipal Court                  Department, Planning Department, and Tax Department.


                 This item was presented on August 11, 2004.




            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.




      Motion to adjourn.                                                                                            9:00 p.m.


            Moved:  Cm.  Galo                                                                                                      

            Second:  Cm.  Rendon

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0


I, Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true and correct copy of the minutes contained in pages 01 and 24 are true, complete, and correct proceedings of the City Council meeting held on August 9, 2004




                                                                        Gustavo Guevara, Jr.

                               City Secretary