CITY OF LAREDO

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

M2006-R-02

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

1110 HOUSTON STREET

LAREDO, TEXAS 78040

January 23, 2006

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,                                                                    Council Member, District I

            Hector Garcia,                                                                          Council Member, District II

            John C.  Galo,                                                                          Council Member, District III

            Johnny Amaya,                                                                         Council Member, District IV

            Johnny Rendon                                                                         Council Member, District V

            Gene Belmares,                                                                        Council Member, District VI

            Jose A.  Valdez, Jr.,                                                                 Mayor Pro Tem, District VII

            Juan Ramirez,                                                                           Council Member, District VIII

            Gustavo Guevara, Jr.,                                                               City Secretary

            Larry Dovalina,                                                                         City Manager

            Cynthia Collazo,                                                                       Deputy City Manager

            Horacio De Leon,                                                                     Assistant City Manager

            Rafael Garcia,                                                                           Assistant City Manager

            Jaime Flores,                                                                            City Attorney

 

IV.       COMMUNICATIONS AND RECOGNITIONS

 

      Announcements

 

a.  Naming the 2006 Laredo Commission for Women Hall of Fame Inductees: Amanda

Martinez, Civic Volunteer; Frances Quesada, Education; Minita Freeman, Financial; Gloria Jackson, Government Services; Dr. Carmen Ramirez - Rathmell, Health/Environment; and Judith Gutierrez, Politics.

 

Mayor Flores recognized Dr.  Cecelia Moreno for initiating the Laredo Commission for Women Hall of Fame when she was a Council Member.  She said that women are recognized who have made different contributions and make Laredo a better place to live.  She mentioned they are women who raise their families, work at their jobs, and still contribute their time to the community.  She said that some of the inductees are recognized for the work that they do and some are recognized for their public service.  In all, they are being recognized for being a leader in South Texas, Nation, and the community. 

 

Frances Waworski announced the six ladies that will be inducted on March 5, 2006: Amanda Martinez, Civic Volunteer; Frances Quesada, Education; Minita Freeman, Financial; Gloria Jackson, Government Services; Dr.  Carmen Ramirez – Rathmell, Health/Environment; and Judith Gutierrez, Politics. 

 

            Invitations

 

a.  Invitation to the Laredo City Council to attend the Streets of Laredo / Popeyes

     Jamboozie on Saturday, January 28, 2006.

 

Rafael Torres, chairperson for Streets of Laredo Urban Mall Association, invited the Mayor, City Council, and the viewing public to attend the Streets of Laredo/Popeye’s Jamboozie on Saturday, January 28, 2006.  He also thanked the Mayor and City Council for their support.  He noted that this year promised to be more exciting with a lot of music, food, and other entertainment.

    

b.  Invitation to the 2006 Laredo International Sister Cities Festival from Laredo

     Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

Patricia Taylor, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director, said that her staff is very proud to be working with the City Secretary’s Office to prepare to host the Fourth International Sister Cities in Laredo.  She went on to say that there are at least fifty-five municipalities that will be visiting presenting their products and bringing tourism information as well as cultural presentations.  She invited the Mayor, City Council and the viewing public to attend the opening ceremonies followed by the official opening of the Expo which will be open the entire week-end.  She added that most of Laredo has experienced the wonderful market place of products from the Sister Cities.  She thanked all of the other City Departments that are making the event possible for this year. 

 

Mayor Flores thanked the staff of Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the City Secretary’s Office for all of their work.  She specifically thanked Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary, for bringing his dream to fruition.  She added that the event has brought national recognition which merits attendance.

 

Gustavo Guevara, Jr., City Secretary announced that a Youth Program has been created where 16 students from Laredo will be entertaining youth from other parts of the country during the festival.  Finally, he mentioned that the City of Laredo has won the 2007 International Sister Cities Conference in Laredo which combines the U. S. Mexico Conference.   

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, announced that Gustavo Guevara, Jr., has now been officially selected as Director for the National Board of the International Sister Cities Association.

 

 

 

            Recognitions

 

a.  Recognition of Manuel Reyes, of the Community Development Department, on his

     selection as December 2005 City of Laredo Employee of the Month.

 

Ronnie Acosta, Community Development Director, said that the department is proud to have Manuel Byrd Reyes, as December 2005 employee of the month.  She said that he has been employed with the city for the past fifteen years.  He is one of three housing inspectors who monitor the rehabilitation of owner occupied units.  The Department of Community Development has a housing rehabilitation loan program which assists families and individuals with low income to bring their homes up to standard condition.  The Department also provides grants to remove hazardous conditions and provide sewer connections.  Mr.  Reyes works directly with the home owners and contractors.  

 

Mayor Flores and the Council recognized Manuel Reyes as the December employee of the month. 

 

b.  Recognition of City employees who were deployed to Iraq over one (1) year ago and

have returned home: Eddie Elizarde, Gabriel Arriaga, Carlos Agredano, Jose R. Garza Aguirre, Ernest Chavez, Jose A. Cueva, Jose A. Hernandez, Manuel Lara, Jorge E. Martinez, Heriberto Ramos, Carlos Hernandez, Jr.

 

Mayor Flores and City Council recognized Eddie Elizarde and Gabriel Arriaga and presented them with a medal that read:

 

The plaque read “a warm embrace and commendation of the people of Laredo we appreciate your service to your country, your state and your homeland.” 

 

c.  Recognizing the Laredo Community College Palomino Men's Tennis Team for garnering

     the National Junior College Athletic Association title in May 2005. 

 

Ramon Dovalina, Laredo Community College president, stated that the University is very pleased to read in the Laredo Morning Times that their long-term board member was selected as the “Laredoan of the Year” and Jaime Don Juan as “Coach of the Year”.  He went on to advise that Coach Don Juan has been recognized national as “Coach of the Year”. 

 

Mayor and City Council presented Seven Flags Certificates to the following Palomino Men’s Tennis Team for garnering the National College Athletic Association title in May of 2005:

 

Charles Audiore, Henry Estrella, Alejandro Gonzalez, Thomas Ollivier, Aaron Olavarrieta, Alex Ortega, and Daniel Pazos.

 

Head Coach:  Jaime B. Donjuan

Assistant Coach:  Marco Valdez

 

 

 

d.  Recognizing the top seven Laredo athletes ranked by the U.S. Tennis Association in the

     3.5 Senior’s category.

 

Mayor Flores and City Council recognized the following top seven Laredo athletes for being ranked by the U. S. Tennis Association in the 3.5 Senior’s category:

 

Gustavo Fuentes, Bernherdt Gubser, Candelario Escamilla, Arturo Gutierrez, Robert Cavazos, and Alfredo Trevino. 

 

e.  Recognizing the Treviño family for being named as the Texas Tennis Family of the Year              by the Texas Tennis Association, in conjunction with the U.S. Tennis Association.

 

Mayor Flores and City Council presented a Seven Flags Certificate to the Trevino family for being named as the Texas Tennis Family of the Year by the Texas Tennis Association, in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association. 

 

f.  Recognizing the winners of the Mayor’s Cup Softball Tournament.

 

                 Mike Pescador, Parks & Recreation Department, recognized the following winners:

 

                 E Division    2nd – Parks & Recreation

                                    1st -  Health Department

 

                 C Division  3rd – IT

                                    2nd – Human Resources

                                    1st – Utilities

 

                 B Division    3rd – Fleet Department

                                    2nd – Traffic Department

                                    1st – Solid Waste Department

 

                 A Division   3rd – Parks & Recreation Department

                                    2nd – Police Department

                                    1st – Fire Department

 

Communiqués

 

a.  Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores reports on the City of Laredo Fire Department.

 

The City of Laredo Fire Department was created in 1885, but in 2005, it is still ready to serve the needs of today’s community.  The following are last year’s highlights and accomplishments. 

 

Since the opening of the International Training Facility, the Laredo Fire Department has trained 60 of our own firefighter cadets, as well as numerous firefighters from around the world, including Mexico, France, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Canada in various phases of fire suppression, and finalizing a Training Center Contract with TEEX to perform these types of teaching operations.  The City of Laredo Fire Department has collected over $200,000 in fees from TEEX partners for each training rendered.  The department has also worked hard to create initiatives to extend training programs to counterparts in Mexico to effectively mitigate an emergency that would affect both sides of the border.

 

Over 100 firefighters have gone through the LCC accreditation program for fire cadet training, receiving college credit for taking courses at the college.

 

The Airport Fire Station has been remodeled and expanded with federal grant funds obtained through the City of Laredo Airport Department.  Additional classroom space, accommodating up to 35 students was added to help firefighters train in fire suppression activities geared specifically for airports.

 

The Fire Department has also received $3.2 million for equipment and training thanks to the creation of a dedicated grants program for federal and state funds and by lobbying extensively with elected officials and key directors at various levels of government to emphasize the importance of public safety on the international border.  In fact, the department secured federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency to create a Weapons of Mass Destruction training program for first responders on both sides of the border, as well as secured federal grant funds from FEMA to create a pre-disaster mitigation plan for the City of Laredo.

 

The City of Laredo finalized a contract with the International Firefighters Association Union to implement a new fire station alerting system for each City of Laredo department.  This will cut down on the reaction time for any emergency the City of Laredo may have.  This alarm system will be controlled through our 9-1-1- system.

 

Thanks to new hardware and software, the Fire Department was able to implement a new EMS reporting and billing program with a significant increase in the EMS collection ratio, jumping from a 20% collection rate to a 40% collection rate.  This year’s goal is to reach a 60% collection rate.

 

Of course, a big part of the firefighters efforts are prevention, and aside from helping to develop a new ordinance for fire inspections, the also implemented a new fee structure for fire based inspections, which is now bringing in approximately $250,000 a year to City coffers, which in turn are used for fire operations and expenses. 

 

Aerial Truck # 3 was activated at the Fire Station # 12 along the Bob Bullock Loop, while Engine # 6 and the Airport Fire Truck were replaced.  Additionally, the department also purchased two new ambulances.

 

Construction for Fire Station # 14 in Cielito was completed in late December and is pending activation this year.

 

Standard operating procedures for all divisions of the fire department, including international training; in-house training and fire prevention/arson were revised and implemented.

 

The Laredo Fire Department also spearheaded the creation of a regional mutual aid agreement with surrounding jurisdictions to render aid in the event of a significant emergency, as well as actively participated in the South Texas Development Council Homeland Security Advisory Council to address issues pertaining to regional response.  They also strengthened ties with first responder agencies from the surrounding areas through the regional Council of Governments.

 

Finally, the Laredo Fire Department has recognized the need for long term planning to maximize the department’s potential for service to the community, by taking proactive steps to address this need by focusing on long-term strategic planning. 

 

There are always new challenges to the community’s safety to face, whether they are natural or man-made terror.  The first Laredo fireman in 1885 must have felt that way, but even back then, training, having proper equipment and working to meet the demands of the city has always been the Fire Department’s first priority.  It still is and will continue to be so in 2006 and beyond. 

 

Cm.  Agredano said that he recently came to realize that South Laredo has grown large enough that they need their own medical facility.  He went on to say that the other hospitals are too far for critically ill patients.  He asked interested individuals to call him to see what they could do to offer better medical treatment to patients in south Laredo.  He added that the first few minutes after accidents are the most crucial in determining whether or not a patient will survive. 

 

Cm.  Garcia congratulated the Menudo Bowl participants.  He especially thanked the Laredo Police Department for working hard to assure that the traffic was controlled on Hwy. 59 during the annual event.  He added that construction on Hwy. 59 will be complete in one month. 

 

Cm.  Galo applauded volunteers and participants of the Menudo Bowl.  He added that it was a wonderful event with thousands of attendants.  He went on to say that the Menudo Bowl raises funds for the Crime Stoppers which deters crimes in our City.  Crime Stoppers tips has taken $13,000,000 dollars worth of drugs off the streets this year alone.

 

Cm.  Amaya thanked Parks & Recreation Department employees on the great job they did at the Albert Ochoa Tennis Courts. 

 

Cm.  Rendon thanked John Orfilia, Public Works Manager, and his crew for paving eight blocks of sidewalks in his district.  He also invited the viewing public to attend a town hall meeting that will be held in his district. 

 

Cm.  Belmares congratulated the Parks & Recreation Department for organizing the Mayor’s Cup Tournament held annually.  He also thanked them for their work at the North Central Park. 

 

Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez thanked everyone for assisting with the Land Hall of Fame.  He specifically thanked Miguel Pescador, Parks & Recreation Director for his assistance.  He said that Jessica Mendoza, Softball Gold Medalist, gave a presentation to different schools in the area.  He mentioned that Tom Flores also gave a presentation to the children about his life experiences.  He added that it was a great event which gave our children an opportunity to listen to successful athletes.  Finally, he thanked Mrs.  Ramirez from TAMIU for providing the auditorium.

 

Cm.  Ramirez advised that he has visited the El Portal Project which is progressing nicely.  He also mentioned that he had attended the Commissioners Court because he is working towards the Water Park.  He thanked the Court for approving a lease for the land for the Water Park.  He thanked Judge Louis Bruni and Commissioner Judith Gutierrez who made the motion for the county to lease the land. 

 

V.        APPOINTMENTS TO COMMISSIONS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

                 

            None.

 

VI.       PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

1.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by rezoning Lots 2 and 3, Block 1, Tesoro Plaza Subdivision, located at 5112 Tesoro Plaza, from B-3 (Community Business District) to B-4 (Highway Commercial District).  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zone change.  

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Juan Camacho, applicant, spoke in favor of the zone change.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

Second:  Cm.  Rendon

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  Mayor Pro Tem Valdez

 

2.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by rezoning 4.2 acres, as further described by metes and bounds in attached Exhibit “A”, located south of Loma del Sur Boulevard and east of Business 83, from AG (Agricultural District) to B-1 (Limited Commercial District).  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zone change.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Garcia

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:   Cm.  Agredano 

 

3.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by rezoning 7.4 acres, as further described by metes and bounds in attached Exhibit “A”, located south of Loma del Sur Boulevard and east of Business 83, from AG (Agricultural District) to B-3 (Community Business District).  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zone change. 

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Garcia

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  Cm.  Agredano        

 

4.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by authorizing a Conditional Use Permit for a kiosk/food stand on Lot 12, Block 446, Eastern Division, located at 202 W. San Carlos Street.  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the zone change.

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Garcia

Second:  Cm.  Galo

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Rendon

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  Cm.  Rendon

 

5.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by authorizing a Conditional Use Permit for diesel truck repair on Lot 6, Block 1787, Eastern Division, located at 2919 Market Street.  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the zone change. 

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Garcia

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Motion to close the public hearing and postpone.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Rendon

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

6.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance Map of the

City of Laredo by rezoning Lot 10 and the East ½ of Lot 11, Block 1078, Eastern Division, located at 1904 Green Street, from R-1 (Single-Family Residential District) to R-2 (Multi-Family Residential District).  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the zone change.  

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Gloria Escamilla, applicant, approached Council and gave several examples of similar zone changes in the area where she is asking for approval.  She said that she would use the existing structure for a duplex.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Rendon

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  Cm.  Galo        

 

7.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo FY2005-2006

Airport Fund (Operating) Budget by drawing down $2,000,000.00 from the restricted fund balance and amend the corresponding expenditure line item for the purpose of acquiring a tract of land abutting the airport; and authorizing the City Manager to implement said budget amendment; providing for an effective date. 

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Rendon

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  City Council

 

8.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year

2005 – 2006 Capital Grants Fund Annual Budget to recognize revenues from an Economic Development Initiative Grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in the amount of $198,400.00 for the renovation of the historic Plaza Theater’s marquee and blade sign and appropriating said grant revenues to the appropriate expenditure accounts and authorizing the City Manager to implement said budget amendment.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  City Council

 

9.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year

2005 – 2006 full-time Equivalent Positions by creating one (1) full-time Community Service Aide position with benefits in lieu of one (1) contract Community Service Aide in the HIV/AIDS Prevention Program funded 70% through the HIV Prevention Activities Program Grant (226-6072) beginning January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 and 30% through the STCADA Grant (226-6403) beginning July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                          Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                                         Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Introduction Ordinance:  City Council

 

10.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year

2005 – 2006 Annual Budget by appropriating revenues and expenditures in the additional amount of $35,000.00 for a total amount of $210,000.00 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to continue the operation of the two (2) continuous air monitoring station (CAMS) by the City of Laredo Health Department, by extending the grant period which ends February 28, 2006, an additional six (6) months. The term period would be beginning September 1, 2003, through August 31, 2006; and authorizing the City Manager to execute the contract.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Garcia

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

11.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance establishing a 15% penalty on current year

delinquent property tax accounts, as of April 1st of each year for Personal Property and July 1st of each year for Real Property, to defray costs of collection pursuant to Sections 33.11 and 33.07 of the Texas Property Tax Code; providing for publication and effective date.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

12.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year

2005 – 2006 Annual Budget for the Parking Meters Fund by appropriating expenditures in the amount of $62,000.00 from Fund Balance for the repair of the elevator located at the Parking Division Administration Building.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Rendon

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Rendon

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

13.  Public hearing and introductory ordinance authorizing the City Manager to amend the

Transit System’s Fiscal Year 2005 – 2006 Capital Grants Budget by appropriating $636,671.00 as the local match for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5309 Grant #TX-03-0274-00 for the new transit facility.

 

Motion to open the public hearing.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

There was no public input.

 

Motion to close the public hearing and introduce.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Agredano

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

VII.     INTRODUCTORY ORDINANCES

 

14.  Authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease with the Washington’s Birthday

Celebration Association, Inc., (W.B.C.A.) for approximately fifteen (15.0) acres of concrete ramp located in the southwest cargo ramp of the Air Operations Area to include City owned vacant non-aeronautical use land located at the Laredo International Airport for event parking use. Lease term is for two (2) days commencing on February 11, 2006 and ending on February 12, 2006. 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

 

15.  Authorizing the City Manager to execute all necessary documents to effectively convey

two (2) city owned blocks, namely, Blocks 1782, E.D. and 1713, eastern division, in the City of Laredo, Webb County, Texas, to the Metro Affordable Housing Corporation in support of the Cardinal Point Project, which will be a forty (40) unit town home development; and providing for effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

16.  Amending the City of Laredo Code of Ordinances Chapter 2 – “Administration”,

Article II – “Departments, Officers and Employees”, Division 5 – “Appeals and Grievances”, Section 2-87.2- “Appeal Procedures”, Subparagraph (G); providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

17.  Closing as a public easement that section of Galveston Street between McDonnell and

Monterrey Avenues situated in the Eastern Division, City of Laredo, County of Webb, Texas; and providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

18.  Authorizing the City Manager to execute all necessary documents to effectively convey

a twelve-foot-wide Easement and Right-of-Way to AEP Texas Central Company for the installation of a single phase transformer at Santa Rita Park for concession building.  Said twelve-foot-wide Easement and Right-of-Way containing 36.00 square feet, and being out of Lot No. 1, of the Santa Rita Subdivision Park Plat, recorded in Volume 20, Page 99, of the Map Records of Webb County, Texas, being described on attached Exhibit A; and providing for an effective date.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

VIII.    FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES 

 

Motion to waive the final readings of Ordinance # 2006-O-013, # 2006-O-014, 3 2006-O-015.

 

            Moved:  Cm.  Galo

            Second:  Cm.  Amaya

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

19.  2006-O-013  Accepting and appropriating a grant awarded by Texas State University,

San Marcos, Texas, in the amount of $23,377.00 with City designating $1,148.00 as a local match and amending the City of Laredo’s Fiscal Year 2005 – 2006 Environmental Services Fund Annual Budget by appropriating said revenues and expenditures.  The grant monies will be used for the Dos Laredos Integrating Monitoring, Watershed Education, and Litter Cleanup Project.

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2006-O-013.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                              Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

2006-O-014  Amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year 2005 – 2006 Annual Budget by

reducing $50,864.00 to reflect the actual amount awarded of $34,678.00 from the Texas Department of State Health Services for the Title V Family Planning Services of the City of Laredo Health Department for the period beginning January 1, 2006 through August 31, 2006.

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2006-O-014.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                             Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

2006-O-015  Authorizing the City Manager to accept a contribution in the amount of

$12,500.00 from the Prairie Foundation and amending the City of Laredo Fiscal Year 2005 – 2006 General Fund Annual Budget by appropriating revenues of $12,500.00 in the form of a contribution from the Prairie Foundation and expenditures in the amount of $12,500.00 for the purchase of playground equipment for North Central Park.

 

Motion to adopt Ordinance # 2006-O-015.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:      8                             Against:  0                                Abstain:  0

IX.       RESOLUTIONS

 

20.  2005-R-003  Declaring the public necessity to acquire the “Surface Only” of one parcel

of land for the widening of Salinas Avenue and construction of a pedestrian plaza, between Zaragosa and Water Streets, as part of the El Portal Project.  Said parcel consisting of Lots 5 & 6, Block 23, Western Division, City of Laredo, Webb County, Texas; as delineated on attached copy of City Plat; and authorizing staff to negotiate with the owner for the acquisition of said parcel by purchase at a market value as 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 due to inability to agree to a purchase price, conflict of ownership, owner refusal to sell, and/or inability to locate the listed owner(s).

 

Motion to approve Resolution # 2005-R-003.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                              Against:  0                                Abstain:  0  

 

X.        MOTIONS

 

21.  Consideration for approval of Change Order No. 2 a decrease of $107,517.05, for the

balance of quantities actually constructed in place, acceptance of the Laredo International Airport Reconstruction of Portions of Taxiways A and B – AIP Project No. 3-48-0136-41-04 and approval of release of retainage and final payment in the amount of $339,921.29 to Price Construction, Ltd., Laredo, Texas.  Final contract amount is $2,011,554.41.  Funding is available in the Airport Construction Fund – Grant 41.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

22.  Consideration for approval of acceptance of the Lilia Perez Community Center (Farias

Community Center) and approval of final payment in the amount of $24,113.99 to Zertuche Construction Company, Laredo, Texas.  Final contract amount is $382,199.00.  Funding is available in the Community Development Fund.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

23.  Consideration to exercise the renewal option for contract FY05-032 for the following

annual contracts for repair parts and service for the heavy equipment fleet: Holt Co. of Texas, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated amount of $200,000.00 and RDO Equipment Co., Laredo, Texas, in the estimated amount of $20,000.00.  All parts and service will be purchased on an as needed basis.  Funding is available in the Fleet Maintenance Budget.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

24.  Authorizing the City Manager to reject the Medicare Prescription Drug Insurance (Part

D) Portion of request for proposals number FY06-025 to provide retiree prescription drug benefits that would be comparable to the current retiree prescription drug benefits.  The proposals submitted did not provide comparable benefits. 

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

25.  Consideration to authorize the purchase of an in-line hockey dasher board system from

the low bidder.  The low bidder will be announced at the City Council meeting.  This equipment will be installed at the Lafayette Linear Park.  Funding is available in the 31st Action Year, 2005 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

 

Motion to approve as amended to go with the vendor that is most advantageous for the City.

 

Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

26.  Refund of property tax in the amount of $2,780.25 to the following taxpayers and

       companies:

1.  A refund in the amount of $519.22 payable to Arrowhead Land Development due

     to an erroneous payment.  Account # 922-10001-130.

2.  A refund in the amount of $617.57 payable to Laredo National Bank due to an

     erroneous payment.  Account # 110-00479-050.

3.  A refund in the amount of $508.07 payable to Laredo National Bank due to an

     erroneous payment.  Account # 221-01001-011.

4.  A refund in the amount of $1,135.39 payable to Laredo National Bank due to an

     erroneous payment.  Account # 110-00479-071.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

27.  Approving monthly adjustments to the tax roll.  The amount to be adjusted for month

of December 2005 represents a decrease of $30,393.04. These adjustments are determined by Webb County Appraisal District and by court orders.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

28.  Adopting the 2006 Federal Legislative Agenda.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

29.  Awarding a contract to Rathmell and Gilpin Engineering Company, L.L.C., Laredo,

Texas in the amount of $377,000.00 for basic engineering services including a preliminary engineering report, surveys, design, and preparation of plans and specifications with cost estimates for the expansion of the North Laredo Wastewater Treatment Plant. The contract time is 320 calendar days.  Funds are available in the North Laredo Wastewater Treatment Plant Construction Account.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

30.  Awarding a construction contract to the lowest bidder Ramos Industries, Inc.,

Pasadena, Texas in the amount of $1,797,419.00 for the construction of the SH 359 Tanquesitos I - Wastewater Collection and Water Distribution Improvements Project, subject to the approval of the TWDB. The Tanquesitos I-Wastewater Collection and Water Distribution Improvements consist of constructing  8” water distribution line  and 10”/ 8” sanitary sewer collection line to Colonias Los Tanquesitos I within SH 359 Planning Areas. The construction time is 240 calendar days.  Funding is available in the Colonias Construction Fees. 

 

Motion to postpone.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Galo

Second:  Cm.  Amaya

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

 

XI.       STAFF REPORTS

 

31.  A.  Update regarding Phase II of U.S. VISIT, with possible action on a resolution.

 

Mayor Flores said that she had met with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in November 2005 in Washington D. C. where she extended an invitation to him to visit the City of Laredo.  She added that he visited Laredo and she was the first Mayor to meet with the Homeland Security Secretary.  She went on to say that it was a great opportunity because he met with the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and the Health Director to discuss border safety issues.  The City of Laredo has done a tremendous amount of work in preparing to secure the homeland with very little help from the state and federal governments.  The City of Laredo will continue to ask for assistance by asking for matching funds. 

 

Cm.  Galo said there should not be a need for a separate crossing card because it can be integrated with the driver’s license. 

 

Mayor Flores said that she agreed with that idea but had seen presentations as to why that cannot be done.     

 

Mario Maldonado, Bridge Director, submitted the following report to the City Council:

 

U. S. – Visit Phase II Update

(United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology)

 

U. S. VISIT entry procedures have been operational in secondary inspection areas of the 50 busiest land border ports of entry since December 29, 2004, and are also in place at 115 airports and 15 seaports.  Phase I entry procedures were implemented at Laredo’s land ports in November 2004.

 

As per Customs Border Protection, phase I entry procedures require the issuance of an I-94 Form to Mexican nationals or other foreigners staying over 30 days in the United States or traveling beyond 25 miles from the border.  The I-94 Form is valid for six months and is now being issued electronically.

 

The Department of Homeland Security’s office has undertaken a proof of concept test of U. S. – VISIT land border exit procedures and technology (Phase II) at five land border locations on the United States – Canada and United States- Mexico borders (Washington, New York, Arizona) beginning in July 2005 and expected to conclude March 2006.  The five land border locations are as follows:  Nogales, Arizona (east and west); Alexandria Bay, New York; Pacific Highway, Washington; and Peace Arch, Washington.

 

The biometric procedures being used in phase II are digital, inkless finger scans and digital photographs when obtaining and I-04 Form electronically.

 

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the technology being tested for Phase II of U. S. VISIT.  RFID technology refers to wireless systems that allow a device to read information contained in a wireless “tag” from a distance or without making any physical contact.  This technology provides a method to transmit and receive data from one point to another and is also used on highway toll tags, car keys and security access cards.

 

To protect the privacy of visitors, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has mentioned that I-94 forms will not include the visitor’s biographic or biometric information.  Rather, I-94 Forms will only contain unique serial code numbers that link back to the visitor’s biographic and biometric records.  RFID technology reads the I-94 form and records a visitor’s entry and exit by securely transmitting the tag’s serial number to the U. S. VISIT reader and database.

 

On November 4, 2005, staff from the City Manager’s office and the Laredo Bridge System traveled to Nogales, Arizona, for a  by the Department of Homeland Security and Customs Border Protection on U. S. – VISIT entry/exit procedures and technology (Phase II).  During the tour, city staff witnessed the operations of Phase II which included the following: 

 

Issuance of an I-04 Form

Biometric procedures

Length of time to process & obtain I-04 Form

                         Entry/Exit of Visitor (Vehicular & Pedestrian) with I-94 form

                         Radio Frequency Identification System

                         Hardware equipment of technology

                       

Some of the concerns witnessed by staff during the tour and demonstration of the U. S. VISIT entry/exit procedures and technology are as follows:

 

Malfunctions and failures of technology during demonstration

Delay of traffic due to malfunctions

No signage or instructions to travelers (pedestrians or vehicular) for usage of technology

CBP Officer manually obtains I-94 Form from visitor for scanning upon entry

Technology only tracks I-94 Form and not the visitor

RFID not interoperable with FAST, SENTRI and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (Passport)

 

The Border Trade Alliance (BTA) has written a letter to Secretary Michael Chertoff, Department of Homeland Security, addressing their concerns and recommendations and has issued a position statement concerning U. S. VISIT Proof of Concept Test, July 2005 – March 2006.  Letter, Position Statement, and Resolution are attached for review.  BTA’s position and recommendations are as follows:

 

BTA supports DHS decisions to thoroughly test all elements of U. S. – VISIT before deploying border wide.

BTA will not support exit controls if they cause undue disruption of legitimate cross-border & travel.

Recommendation 1 – Proof of Concept Test must be complete in measurement of entry and exit processing time.

Recommendation 2 – Exit procedures should not cause  vehicles or pedestrians to slow their exit from the U. S.

Recommendation 3 – U. S. VISIT office should continue to gather and accept input from communities.

Recommendation 4 – DHS should assess the feasibility and value of creating a secure and reliable border crossing identification for frequent cross-border travelers.

 

Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, travelers will be required to present a passport or some other acceptable proof of citizenship upon entry into the United States when returning from certain countries in the Western Hemisphere.  This initiative will be implemented in different phases which are as follow:

 

December 31, 2006 – Requirement applied to all travelers by air or sea

December 31, 2006 – Requirement will include al land border crossings.

 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s made a joint statement with the U. S. citizens will soon have an alternative (travel card) to the passport for land-border crossings. 

 

Endorsement

 

Since the introduction of the resolution, in 2003, regarding the implementation of the US-VISIT program, the border Trade Alliance has received endorsements from the following organizations:

 

Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Middle Rio Grande Development Council, representing nine counties and 15 incorporated communities

Cameron County

City of San Benito

Rio Grande Valley Partnership/Chamber of Commerce

Brownsville Chamber of Commerce

Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce

Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce

McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Association of Importers & Exporters of Texas

City of Eagle pass

Arizona-Mexico Commission, Office of the Governor, Arizona

Sonora-Arizona Commission, Office of the Governor, Sonora

South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce

City of Harlingen

 

Letter

 

“The Honorable Michael Chertoff

Secretary

 

Dear Secretary:

 

On behalf of the Border Trade Alliance, we are writing to convey our observations about our recent tour and demonstration of the US-VISIT  proof of concept at the De Concini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona on November 4, 2005.  The BTA has long been a proponent of the deployment of technologies that will make our border better, safer and more secure through the deployment and implementation of technology.  By being more effective in enforcing Homeland Security initiatives, we believe that our ports of entry become more efficient.

 

We believe that the inclusion of Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID) as a critical component of US-VISIT at our land borders has the potential to improve port efficiency while strengthening border security.  Unfortunately, we are not confident that the proof of concept at Nogales is currently pursuing the optimal maximization of the potential offered by this technology.  Up front we concede that RFID technology works, but we are not sure that the current proof of concept is fully testing the integration of the technology within broader Homeland Security strategies.  Below we have highlighted our main concerns:

 

Date Delay

 

There is a delay between when a traveler’s information is collected at the secondary inspection area as part of the US-VISIT enrollment process and when that information is available to the inspectors at the primary inspection area.  This was witnessed as a test traveler during the demonstration secured her I-94 and proceeded to walk back to Mexico, and then entered and queue to cross back into the US as a pedestrian traveler.  Upon presenting herself for inspection by a CBP inspection officer after standing in line for several minutes, the system failed to locate the information she had provided minutes earlier in the US-VISIT enrollment process.  When questioned as to which information was actually being reviewed, an inspector informed us that they were accessing the test traveler’s entry information from a previous demonstration.  The lag time between US-VISIT enrollment information being collected and being available to inspection officers presents both a security and efficiency concern. 

 

We were informed that as an individual walks under arches containing RFID proximity readers when leaving the US, the individual must have the I-94 at least 1/4of an inch away from his or her body in order to ensure that the reader properly records the traveler’s exit.  We are not sure we fully understand this limitation and we feel that the holder of the I-04 must be given clear instructions as to how to hold the document when crossing the border in either direction.

 

We did not see any signage at either the pedestrian or vehicular crossings informing travelers that the I-94 must be held in a certain manner for the system to effectively record the crossing.  In fact, except for signage, directing travelers to the secondary inspection area indicating where to enroll in the US-VISIT, we did not see any signage around the port indicating that US-VISIT was even operational at the port.  Recognizing the aforementioned limitations, we were astounded that there was not signage providing critical instructions to border crossers. 

 

We were also informed that although RFID technology works within a vehicle traveling at speeds up to 40 mph, the I-94 must be placed on the dashboard of the vehicle.  Once again, we did not see any signage in the vehicular approach to the port that reminded the traveler that the I-94 must be placed on the dashboard.

 

We also inquired as to why there were no video monitors displaying instructions and demonstrations as to how to hold the I-94 to maximize its effectiveness in order for the RFID readers to work properly.  Some of the CBP personnel indicated that they were concerned that if monitors were to be installed at the port that they would be stolen.  If that is a concern, then we should analyze the positioning and securing of the monitors to see if we can minimize this potential threat.  We believe that the benefits in informing the traveler with outweigh the possible loss of the monitors.  If not through the video monitor, some method of education and assistance must be taken to address the casual user.  The equipment is not immediately intuitive, especially without specific cues that it is working properly.

 

Integration of Technology

 

For pedestrian crossers, the RFID technology is not in use until the traveler reaches the inspector at primary.  We observed that the RFID technology is not being used to generate an automated record of the entry nor is it enable to display the information on the inspector’s computer screen by remote sensing – the clear advantage of RFID technology – and the inspector must take the I-94 from the traveler’s hand and swipe it and scan it. 

 

In the vehicular primary inspection area, although the scanners are located in US territory several feet in front of the primary inspection booth, and although we were informed that the scanners create a record of the entry, the record and the technology are not integrated into other DHS systems and thus the inspector must still wait for the car to reach him or her at the booth and once again take the I-94 and swipe it or scan it.  In neither the pedestrian nor vehicular primary inspection process is RFID used to bring up the information on the traveler for the inspector.

 

We had hoped that this would be one of the most significant gains that would be tested and verified during the proof of concept, yet it is not being evaluated.  We were informed that this was not being tested yet because it had proven to be must harder to integrate the RFID technology into broader Homeland Security systems.  Through we had been under the impression that this was to be one of the ost important and critical components of the tests at Nogales, this capability is not being tested.

 

Testing process

 

During the briefing, we were informed that one of the biggest long-=term concerns for the US. VISIT program was that DHS did not want to be caught in a situation were the selected technology was proprietary technology, thus leaving the department beholden to a single vendor.  We inquired whether more than one vendor’s technology was being tested during the proof of concept and were informed that only one vendor’s technology was being evaluated.  There is an obvious disconnect on this issue.  If US – VISIT does not want to be committed to only one vendor’s product, then why is only one vendor’s technology being tested?

 

It was not clear to us during our review if in fact an industry standard method was being tested by the single vendor, allowing possible expansion to additional vendors during full deployment, as well as interoperability of devices and credentials with other DHS programs such as FAST and TWIC etc.  We would like to know more about this.

 

We are concerned that the US-VISIT will have to conduct additional tests at a later point in time with other vendors, resulting in not just further delays, but greater expenditures for the deployment of the program.  Given the long lines that we witnessed at both pedestrian and vehicular primary, we believe we must seek ways to gain greater efficiencies at inspection.  We cannot confidently state today that the proof of concept at Nogales is being given the chance to fully explore this mandate.

 

Mr.  Secreatary, the BTA has and continues to be committed to working with you and the US-VISIT team to finding ways to meet the mandate for the program as outlines by law, but we are seriously concerned that the roof of concept is simply testing RFID technology and not how we can actually incorporate this technology into broader systems to help DHS protect the homeland while making more efficient the flow of travelers across the international border.  We remain optimistic that RFID  technology can be a viable solution for meeting the requirements of the laws that govern US-VISIT, but we are seriously concerned that the proof of concept at Nogales will not effectively test the capabilities of this technology.

 

The BTA has been in support of leveraging the test at Nogales to other areas that could impact a greater percentage of the traveling public.  However, given what we have witnessed in Nogales, we are not confident that this is the time to expand the proof of concept to other locations, through we certainly believe that we must remain vigilant in pursuing additional opportunities to deploy the program, as there is much at stake for both our physical and our economic security.  We understand that US-VISIT has currently enrolled approximately 3% to 4% of the total traveling public at Nogales.  If we are to fully understand this technology and its potential we must find ways to positively impact a greater percentage of this traveling population.  For instance, at San Luis, Arizona, there is broad based grassroots consensus that RFID technology could be utilized to create a pilot program for cross-border commuter workers, the large number of agricultural workers that work on one side of the border and live on another.  We believe that if we could use RFID to monitor the daily crossing behavior of this traveling population that we could gain some efficiency at the San Luis crossing.

 

We recommend that US-VISIT create an advisory council that includes the relevant affected stakeholders, including the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the Arizona Office of Homeland Security, the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Greater Nogales, and Santa Cruz County Port Authority, the Greater Yuma port Authority, the Business Council of Nogales, Sonora, and the BTA.  They should also be consideration for inclusion of other stakeholders from beyond the immediate region.  We believe that by fostering a regular dialogue with DHS and the US-VISIT team on this proof of concept, we can still find ways to maximize the potential of RFID technology and its integration into broader DHS initiatives.  If it remains as it is today, we are not sure we will achieve this goal.

 

We look forward to working with you on this very worthwhile initiative.

 

Pete Sepulveda, Chair”

 

B.  Presentation by the Charter Review Commission on proposed amendments to the

     City Charter.

 

Jose Tellez, Charter Revision Committee member, advised Council that amending the City Charter was a very arduous job; however, the committee, which includes individuals from diverse backgrounds, worked every Saturday for four years to create a Charter that would be acceptable to Council.    

 

Francisco Canseco, Charter Revision Committee member, thanked the Council for his appointment noting that it was a very good exercise working with the City Charter.  He noted that the committee put a very strong effort to bring the Charger up to date.  Other than streamlining the language and grammar mistakes, the Committee took an eye towards ethics, emergency managements, conflict of interests, redistricting, and election dates.  The Committee asked that Council review sections 1.05, 1.06, and specifically the redistricting in section 10 and more specifically sections 12.01.  He asked for Council’s approval of the Charter.  He further noted that the interest that the Charter Revision Committee kept in heart the entire time was the City of Laredo and it’s future.

 

Mr.  Torres thanked the Mayor for appointing him to the Commission adding that it was a great opportunity to deliberate with the other commissioners on the Charter Revision Commission. He also thanked the City Secretary’s Staff for providing logistical and policy support as they had the ongoing discussions.  He asked Council to schedule a workshop so that all the changes and revisions could be reviewed. 

 

Dr.  Moreno thanked Council for asking her to serve on the Revision Committee. 

 

Mayor Flores advised that Council will be hold a Charter Revision Committee Workshop  where they can consider all the amendments and additions that are to be recommended by the Charter Revision Commission.

 

XII.     GENERAL COUNCIL DISCUSSIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

 

32.  A.  Request by Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores

 

1.  Report on Washington, D.C. meeting with Homeland Security Secretary, Michael

Chertoff in November 2005 and a subsequent Laredo meeting in January 2006 regarding border security, with possible action.

 

This item was discussed under staff reports.

 

2.  Discussion with possible action regarding synchronizing or extending the timing on

     traffic signals along Loop 20 during peak traffic times.

 

Roberto Murillo, Traffic Director, advised that his staff implemented some timing perimeter synchronization along Loop 20 six months ago; however, the construction on Hwy.  59 and the Loop can be blamed for the heavy traffic on the Loop.   The synchronization could not be installed at Hwy. 59 and Loop 20 because it was now under TxDOT’s end of contracts control.  City staff approached TxDOT about the heavy vehicular traffic and they noted that the contractor is in control of the intersection. 

 

                  B.  Request by Council Member Johnny Rendon

1.  Discussion with possible action regarding the funding of Safe Haven Program under the

     Children’s Advocacy Center.

 

Rebecca Seyoa, Executive for the Children’s Advocacy Center, advised that the Safe Haven Program is a safe exchange program for children and it also provides supervised visitation where protective orders are in place and it is court mandated.  In November of 2005 the grant that funds the program was not re-awarded.  This is in collaboration with the County because they applied for the funding and it was not approved for this year which places the Children’s Advocacy Center in a precarious situation in jeopardizing an excellent program.  Since the inception of the program they have assisted 972 exchanges of children and 100’s of hours of supervised visitation.  She went on to say that the program will expire by the end of March 2006 if they do not find other sources of funding. 

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, asked the Executive Director to provide documents which would inform him and Council of the program and its services.    

 

                  C.  Request by Mayor Pro-Tempore Jose A. Valdez, Jr.

1.  Discussion with possible action to close out the Police Work Station Projects.

 

Cynthia Collazo, Assistant City Manager, noted that she had a conversation with the contractor and he advised her that there are still a couple of items that should be received at the end of the week and the project will be complete.  She added that the item will be included on the agenda for the next meeting for approval of close out.  City staff is looking at the dates right now and there are a couple of credits but there is currently a review taking place with staff.        

 

                  D.  Request by Council Member Juan Ramirez

 

1.  Discussion with possible action regarding the opening of Tatangelo Walkway for    

     vehicular traffic.

 

Cm.  Ramirez advised that most of the trees that are along the Tatangelo Walkway can remain where they are but some of the benches need to be removed so some cars can use the one-way.   

 

Cm.  Garcia said that he brought up the subject some time ago and the cost estimate was around $63,000 to complete. 

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, said that if you decide that you would like to open the walkway, staff would need to do a complete report. 

 

Rogelio Rivera, City Engineer, said that there has not been an in depth study which would include the utility lines etc. 

 

Rogelio Rivera,  City Engineer, said that if the City leaves the benches on the walkway it would become a safety issue. 

 

Larry Dovalina said that staff would need to come back to Council with an exact dollar amount because they would need to do a comprehensive study.  He reminded Council that there are other issues that need to be considered regarding the opening of Tatangelo Walkway. 

 

Motion to open the Tatangelo Walkway for vehicular traffic and return to Council with a cost estimate for the project. 

 

     Moved:  Cm.  Ramirez

     Second:  Cm.  Garcia

     For:     8                                          Against: 0                                             Abstain:  0

 

2.  Discussion with possible action regarding the moving of the Water Park funding from    

the 2009 Capital Improvement Projects to the 2007 Capital Improvement Projects listing.

 

Cm.  Galo asked the City Manager if the water park could be built on County land if the voters agree to expand the Sports Venue tax for other uses.      

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, advised that the Sports Venue Bond would need to be completely refunded if the Council opts to use the funds for other projects.  He further stated that he has discussed the issue with Peter Tart on how the council can expand the Sports Venue Tax as it is currently listed.  He advised Council that the City Attorney would call the County Attorney to discuss the item and return to Council for recommendations. 

 

Cm.  Ramirez said that the water park can be built from a private source at the lake and the City would have the land left over at the arena. 

 

3.  Discussion with possible action regarding the installation of a playground in the San

     Francisco Javier Neighborhood.

 

Cm.  Ramirez asked the City Manager to instruct staff to approach the Cabello family regarding a playground in the San Francisco Javier Neighborhood.

 

Miguel Pescador, Parks & Recreation Department, said that he met with the City of Laredo Real Estate Division and there is a lot in the San Francisco Javier Neighborhood that can be used for a park. 

 

Larry Dovalina, City Manager, informed Council that the suggested site was part of a study of the Corps of Engineers and added that the land was purchased from the Cabello brothers through condemnation. 

 

Motion to use $30,000 of discretionary funds for the installation of a playground in the San Francisco Javier Neighborhood.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Ramirez

Second:  Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

 

No vote was called.       

 

4.  Status report on the improvements to Bridge II and parking space for tour buses.

 

Mario Maldonado, Bridge Director, said that there will be a meeting with all interested parties regarding the improvements to Bridge II on Friday, January 27, 2006.  He also advised that he met with the Port Director Gene Garza and he indicated that they are working in obtaining funding for the construction of a new bus processing facility.  Their plans are to construct this facility next to Bridge II.  

 

Cm.  Garcia asked staff to include the above item on the City of Laredo Washington D. C. agenda. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.    RECESS AS THE LAREDO CITY COUNCIL AND CONVENE AS THE LAREDO MASS TRANSIT BOARD

 

            Motion to recess as the Laredo City Council and convene as the Laredo Mass Transit Board.

 

            Moved:  Cm.  Galo

            Second:  Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

33.  Authorizing the City Manager to waive the parking fee for persons attending the

Popeyes Mardi Gras Jamboozie and implementing a flat fee charge of $200.00 to the Streets of Laredo Urban Mall Association for personnel costs, overtime and extra security for traffic and crowd control for the use of the parking facility on January 28, 2006 from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Ramirez

Second:  Cm.  Agrerdano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

34.  Consideration to award contract FY06-019 to Andy’s Auto Air & Supply, Laredo,

Texas, and Thermo King of Laredo, Laredo, Texas, for providing bus and van fleet air conditioning service for the El Metro Transit System.  The term of this contract will be for a period of two (2) years.  Funding is available in the El Metro Operations Budget.

 

Motion to approve.

 

Moved:  Cm.  Ramirez

Second:  Cm.  Agredano

For:     8                                        Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

XV.      ADJOURN AS THE LAREDO MASS TRANSIT BOARD AND RECONVENE AS THE LAREDO CITY COUNCIL.

 

            Adjourn as the Laredo Mass Transit Board and Reconvene as the Laredo City Council.

 

            Moved:  Cm.  Belmares

            Second:  Cm.  Garcia

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0

                                   

XVI.    ADJOURNMENT

 

            Motion to adjourn.                                                                                            Time:

 

            Moved:

            Second:

            For:                                                      Against:                                                Abstain:

      Supplemental Agenda

 

I.          INTRODUCTORY ORDINANCES

 

1.  Authorizing the City Manager to execute a lease agreement with Laredo Equities, LLC

for the use of Veteran’s Field.  The lease term is for one year with an additional one year renewal option at a rental rate of, the greater of, $100,000.00 per year or $1.00 per ticket sold per year.  Laredo Equities will also provide additional funds for maintenance, utilities, and repairs as outlined in the lease agreement terms.

 

Ordinance Introduction:  City Council

 

II.        EXEUCTIVE 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.

 

III.       ADJOURNMENT

 

            Motion to adjourn.                                                                                            Time:  9:09 p.m.

 

            Moved:  Mayor Pro Tempore Valdez

            Second:  Cm.  Amaya

            For:     8                                               Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0