CITY OF LAREDO
                         CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP
                                M98-W-30
                             July 29, 1998
                               4:00 P.M.


                                MINUTES

   I.  CALL TO ORDER

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

  II.  PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

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

 III.  ROLL CALL

       IN ATTENDANCE:

       ELIZABETH G. FLORES,    MAYOR
       ALFREDO AGREDANO        COUNCILMEMBER, DISTRICT I
       JOHN C. GALO                   "     , DISTRICT III
       CECILIA MAY MORENO             "     , DISTRICT IV
       ELISEO VALDEZ,                 "     , DISTRICT V
       JOE A. GUERRA,                 "     , DISTRICT VI
       GUSTAVO GUEVARA, JR.,   CITY SECRETARY
       FLORENCIO PENA, III,    CITY MANAGER
       JAIME L. FLORES,        CITY ATTORNEY

       ABSENCES:

       Motion to excuse Cm. Bruni, Cm. Alvarado, and Cw. Montalvo.

       Moved : Cw. Valdez
       Second: Cm. Guerra
       For:  4                          Against:  0         Abstain:  0

       Cw. Moreno came in at 5:00 P.M.

  IV.  Public Hearing to receive comments on Legislative proposals from
       City staff and the general public to be presented to the 76th
       State Legislature with possible action.

       The Legislative suggestions from city staff were as follows:
       1 - Texas Border Infrastructure Committee (BIC);
       2 - Regional Weather Modification Program;
       3 - Agriculture Water and efficiency improvements;
       4 - Amending Landfill Regulations to allow cities to deal with
           the financial burden of mandates;
       5 - 911 Service Legislation creating districts or expansion of
           eligibility of services;
       6 - State funding of primary commercial airports;
       7 - Change or amend state law to allow cities to donate property
           or assets for projects which are in the public interest;
       8 - Legislation protecting and strengthening city's regulatory
           authority relating to annexation, extraterritorial jurisdic-
           tion, alcoholic sales and consumption, pawn shops, group
           homes, manufactured housing, highway logo signs, and
           property takings;
       9 - Opposing any new State court fees;
      10 - Public Safety financial responsibility, including the
           possible confiscation of vehicles in violation;
      11 - Future development of Casa Blanca State Park by Texas Parks
           and Wildlife;
      12 - Traffic enforcements by video;
      13 - Environmental Inspectors be given authority to enforce state
           issues;
      14 - Legislation allowing County Clerks to require an affidavit
           of compliance with municipal subdivision requirements for
           filling of a deed and holding the County Clerk accountable
           for the recording of illegal conveyances;
      15 - Opposing legislation that would diminish a city's authority
           to review and take action on subdivision plats; and
      16 - State law that allows the detention of juveniles for
           violation of the law and failure to stop and render aid.

       Mayor Flores opened the meeting stating that the purpose of this
       workshop was to receive comments from the Council, Department
       Heads, and the general public.

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager, introduced Mario
       Martinez, Bob Strauser, and Judy Roach as the legislative team
       helping the City of Laredo through the process.  He further
       informed Council that staff had met and discussed issues that
       need to be brought up at the legislative level, adding that they
       had agreed that these particular issues are not being addressed
       by the associations that the city is a part of.

       Mr. Dovalina then stated that Florencio Pena, City Manager and
       Horacio De Leon, Assistant to the City Manager, had worked with
       the Border Infrastructure Committee to bring about the
       information that is to be presented at this meeting.


       TEXAS BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE

       Dr. Hector Farias, Ph.D., President of Texas Mexican Border
       Infrastructure Trade Association, stated that of utmost concern
       is the need to address infrastructure, transportation, and
       education because these are the driving forces of the BIC
       (Border Infrastructure Committee).  The other major need is the
       development of a rail policy for the State of Texas.  Dr. Farias
       urged Council to get involved, specifically to work at getting
       funded for these particular needs.

       Florencio Pena, City Manager, reported that the Border
       Infrastructure Committee is in the preliminary stages and that
       at the meeting that was held in Austin on July 9, 1998, three
       sub-committees were formed.  The first sub-committee is to
       address transportation projects, the second to address
       employment, and the third to put together a formula to allocate
       supplemental funds from state level.  He informed Council that
       he had been named to be part of the third committee.

       Mr. Pena then stated that together with Horacio De Leon,
       they had put together a five point criteria for allocating
       supplemental funds:

                    1.  population
                    2.  border crossing volume
                    3.  shipping tonnage
                    4.  existing lane miles
                    5.  safety

       He added that sub-committees are to bring back a report to the
       next scheduled meeting in Austin on Thursday, August 6.

       Mayor Flores stated that it is of utmost importance to have more
       representation at these meetings.  She then read a list of
       participants which included Senator Eddie Lucio, Senator Eliot
       Shapleigh, and the legislative consultants that represent
       Laredo.  Also, she made note of the cities participating and
       their representatives.  Mayor Flores then instructed Mr. Pena to
       have people from the private sector, such as tansportation,
       become involved and be part of the core committee.

       Tom Wade, Transportation Association President, stated that the
       Border Infrastructure Committee is very intriguing.  He asked
       that someone make Mr. John Sharp aware of the fact that the
       border does not include San Antonio and that border infra-
       structure funding should be made available for Laredo being
       that it is the border to Mexico.


       Mr. Wade informed Council of the Border Trade Alliance of which
       Mr. Dan Hastings is a member.  He added that BTA did a lot of
       lobbying in Austin so he suggested that Council and Mr.  Pena
       contact Mr. Hastings and request that he be part of the Border
       Infrastructure Committee.

       He continued to say that he had been present at the Metropolitan
       Planning Organization (MPO) meeting and that the 12 issues
       discussed are very important and in need of legislative
       attention.

       Mr. Wade then requested that Council look into the overlapping
       of inspections as trucks are being weighed three times at
       different weigh stations within a three county span.  Mayor
       Flores assured Mr. Wade that the issue would certainly be
       addressed.

       John Adams, President of the Manufacturing Association and Past
       Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee of the Border Trade
       Alliance, stated that he had attended some meetings in San
       Antonio, and issues of exporting and shipping to Mexico were
       discussed.  He further stated that he had asked what port was
       being used for their crossings and they informed him that they
       came through Laredo.  Mr. Adams concurred with Mr. Wade
       regarding the fact that the border should be clearly defined for
       those that are under the impression that San Antonio is part of
       the border.

       Mr. Adams stated that there is no need for more committees but
       perhaps a clearinghouse to do a master list of all the
       organizations that are dealing with border issues.

       Mr. Wade concurred with Mr. Adams and added that along with the
       listing of organizations that it also include a roster of
       membership.

       REGIONAL WEATHER MODIFICATION PROGRAM

       Fernando Roman, Utilities Director, stated that the purpose
       of trying to get legislative support on this issue is that a
       weather modification program is being presented by the Texas
       Water Development Board as an alternative to enhance the amount
       of water that is available for irrigation and ranching.

       Florencio Pena, City Manager, asked Mr. Roman for clarification
       on the issue--is Laredo to take the lead as a city and convince
       state representatives to draw up a bill that will provide water
       modification for the Rio Grande Basin?

       Mr. Roman told Mr. Pena that he was correct.

       AGRICULTURE WATER AND EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS

       On the Acquisition of Water Rights--the only reliable source is
       the Rio Grande.  Of the 1.2 million acre feet of water that
       flow through the river annually, 89% is used for agriculture and
       11% is used by municipalities.

       His recommendation is that if a comparison is made on
       efficiency, and if 10% of our water is saved, based on the
       ratios, the water supply in the river gets augmented by 1%.  If
       agriculture improves 10% efficiency, then the river is augmented
       by 9%.  By the year 2050, 75% will be agricultural and 25% will
       be municipalities.

       AMENDING LANDFILL REGULATIONS TO ALLOW CITIES TO DEAL WITH THE
       FINANCIAL BURDEN OF MANDATES

       Joe Guerra, Public Works Director, informed Council that a fee
       of $300,000, at a rate of $1.25 per ton is paid to the state
       for an annual inspection of the landfill.

       Mr. Guerra suggested that instead of paying the state this
       $300,000, why not keep the money in a surplus so the landfill
       can be closed.

       Cm. Valdez stated that to be available to pay for the state
       mandated fee, fees should be charged for dumping at the local
       landfill.

       Ed Woodruff, Vice President of Support Services with Mercy
       Regional Medical Center, stated that his concern was item #7 of
       the legislative suggestions and that a classic example of this
       particular issue is what is happening with the University of
       Texas Health Science Center and the land that they would be
       leasing from the city.  He further stated that other research or
       non-profit organizations would benefit from Laredo's resources
       but are held back due to high cost of land.  He added that
       should this ordinance pass through Legislature it would make
       this land available to bring in organizations that would benefit
       the health and welfare of this community.

       Mayor Flores asked Mr. Woodruff if he supported the issue?

       Mr. Woodruff stated that he supports it highly and so does Mercy
       Regional Medical Center.

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager, continued to address
       this issue of the landfill and stated that a new law was passed
       in October of 1997 concerning landfill regulations.  In the past
       TNRCC would work with cities when they were in violation and
       would attempt to work at resolving certain problems.  The new
       regulations that were adopted allow for zero tolerance.  Now, a
       city is given a citation and allow a certain time to comply with
       the regulation.

       Mr. Dovalina continued to explain that TNRCC does not take into
       account the border growth and the problems associated with the
       colonias.   The monies that are given out by the TX Water
       Development Board to fund the water and sewer developments along
       the colonias, which develop outside the city limits, use the
       city's resources because it is the only landfill in the county.

       He further explained that the request to amend the law is to
       have them consider the border growth because what is seen as a
       problem in the operation of the landfill is really unfunded
       mandates that taxpayers in this community are paying for.

       911 SERVICE LEGISLATION CREATING DISTRICTS OR EXPANSION OF
       ELIGIBILITY OF SERVICES

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager, stated that there are
       two different ways of dealing with the 911 service in the state.
       One is the 911 District and the other is the 911 operation
       through a COG.

       The 911 District has more flexibility into what 911 funds can be
       used for and allow for other things that are restricted by being
       classified into a COG 911.  In a COG structure the cities and
       urban population subsidize the rural operation.

       Our local 911 operations are not as efficient or up to date as
       it should be because we are not receiving the bulk of the funds
       that are generated by the community.

       STATE FUNDING OF PRIMARY COMMERCIAL AIRPORTS

       Jose Flores, Airport Director, stated that the objective is to
       secure funding from state level for commercial service airports,
       airports like Laredo that have activity of 10,000 plus
       passengers per year.

       Of the 370 airports in the state 270 are eligible for funding.
       State funds are available for general aviation airports which
       are those airports that have activity of less than 10,000
       passengers per year.

       Since the state collects approximately $26 million in aviation
       sales tax and franchise fees we are proposing that since this
       tax is already being collected, it should be directed for
       airport development and primary airports.

       CHANGE OR AMEND STATE LAW TO ALLOW CITIES TO DONATE PROPERTY OR
       ASSETS FOR PROJECTS WHICH ARE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

       Florencio Pena, City Manager, stated that provisions in state
       law do not allow cities to donate property to other entities.
       One example of this is as Mr. Woodruff from Mercy Hospital
       stated on the University of Texas Health Science Center.

       Mr. Pena continued to explain that this is a legislative issue
       that should be pursued.  He further added that should there be a
       need for public purpose the city may be allowed to donate to a
       non-profit organization.

       Erasmo Villarreal, Asst. Community Development Director, stated
       that the language should be incorporated to include the word
       exchange stating that the city would be allowed to exchange
       property if there is a public need.

       ANNEXATION, ETJ, ALCOHOLIC SALES AND CONSUMPTION, PAWN SHOPS,
       GROUP HOMES, MANUFACTURED HOUSING, HIGHWAY LOGO SIGNS, AND
       PROPERTY TAKINGS

       Nina Nixon Mendez, from the Planning Department, said that they
       emphasize the need to protect the city's authority to annex; to
       review subdivision plats within the ETJ; and retain the
       regulatory authority over alcoholic sales and consumption.

       She continued to report that there are certain provisions over
       pawn shops in the local government code in which the city cannot
       impose certain restrictions.

       Mrs. Mendez further stated that group homes, manufactured
       housing, and highway logo signs will continue with the exemption
       of local government from the property takings legislation.  The
       city will be in an advantageous position if it were applicable
       to the takings legislation that would invite the concept of
       compensation on issue of Zoning and Planning.

       Cm. Guerra requested information on city cemetery plots that are
       owned by defunct fraternal organizations and if the city were to
       get enabling legislation to take possession of these plots?

       Mrs. Nixon stated that there is a mechanism by which we can in
       our research determine if they are in existence.  One provision
       in recent legislation in HB 815 which conserves graves and head
       stones.

       Cm. Guerra once again asked Mrs. Mendez if it was possible to
       take possession of these parcels without any further legislation
       being enacted?

       Mrs. Mendez explained that in the cases where it is determined
       that the fraternal organizations no longer exist, there are
       certain ways that the city can handle it.

       OPPOSING ANY NEW STATE COURT FEES

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager reported that Municipal
       Court fees are currently being raised by the state so we have
       established a certain fee structure.  What is happening is that
       city fees are being used for state operations with less coming
       to the city because as the state fees are increased it decreases
       the fee that is paid to the city with no off set.

       PUBLIC SAFETY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

       Eliodoro Granados, Assistant Chief of Police, informed Council
       that current law states that a court order from a magistrate is
       needed to impound a vehicle that has been involved in an
       accident and does not have insurance.

       We are requesting that the law be modified to make it possible
       for an officer to enforce the impoundment.

       FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF CASA BLANCA STATE PARK BY TEXAS PARKS AND
       WILDLIFE

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager, stated that we need to
       get more funding for beautification of the lake.  We feel that
       not enough has been done considering the revenues that are being
       generated.  In discussing this with the Birding Committee we are
       trying to see if the resources that are available are protected
       to encourage nature tourism.



       TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT BY VIDEO

       Larry Dovalina, Assistant City Manager, stated that the city is
       capable of doing this now as there are fiber optic lines that
       belong to the city which could be transmitting video back to the
       police station.

       Agustin Dovalina, Chief of Police, stated that should this law
       be passed at state level it would certainly help locally in
       citing drivers that are often disregarding traffic laws.

       ENVIRONMENTAL INSPECTORS BE GIVEN AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE STATE
       ISSUES

       Riazul Mia, Environmental Manager, stated that we do not have
       any environmental laws in Laredo but that there is a state law
       but local inspectors cannot enforce it.  He further explained
       that because we are held responsible for all illegal dumping we
       should work at getting some provision or ordinance that would
       assist us in enforcing these state laws.

       Cm. Galo asked if state law can be mimicked to provide an
       ordinance to enforce local environmental law?

       Jaime Flores, City Attorney, stated that it is an issue to see
       to what extent the state statute allows enforcement that the
       city would be able to follow.

       Mr. Pena stated that we should put it this issue on fast track
       at the local level instead of seeking state legislation.

       LEGISLATION ALLOWING COUNTY CLERKS TO REQUIRE AN AFFIDAVIT OF
       COMPLIANCE WITH MUNICIPAL SUBDIVISION REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING OF
       A DEED AND HOLDING THE COUNTY CLERK ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE
       RECORDING OF ILLEGAL CONVEYANCES

       Nina Nixon Mendez, with the Planning Department, stated that
       currently there is no legislation that prevents a deed from
       being filed for a subdivision that has not been platted.
       Legislation is warranted which will allow the county clerk to
       require an affidavit of compliance with our subdivision
       requirements in the process of filing the deed.

       OPPOSING LEGISLATION THAT WOULD DIMINISH A CITY'S AUTHORITY TO
       REVIEW AND TAKE ACTION ON SUBDIVISION PLATS

       Nina Nixon Mendez. with the Planning Department, reported that
       this concerns the review of subdivision plats within the ETJ so
       we oppose legislation that will diminish our authority to do so.
       In particular Section 212.4 of the local government code since
       it provides for an exemption for the subdivision of land greater
       than 5 acres.

       STATE LAW THAT ALLOWS THE DETENTION OF JUVENILES FOR VIOLATIONS
       OF THE LAW AND FAILURE TO STOP AND RENDER AID

       Eliodoro Granados, Assistant Chief of Police, reported that this
       law has already been changed and that juveniles can now be
       arrested.

       Mayor Flores asked if Council has any desire to support anything
       that would strengthen the Housing Trust Fund for the State of
       Texas because the state on its own does not provide any state
       funds for housing?  Funds that are provided for low income
       housing are federal.

       She further stated that it would be good for the State of Texas
       to increase the funding for the Housing Trust Fund in order to
       provide assistance to those families that sometimes do not
       qualify for affordable housing because of the laws being so
       restrictive.

       Mayor Flores continued to inform Council that the Legislative
       Liaison Committee should consider the issue of education and
       would like our local education institutions to consider a strong
       educational agenda for our children so she requested that
       Council support this issue as well.

       Janice Weber, Librarian, reported that appropriation bids will
       go before the Senate in reference to education.  She further
       stated that The Read For Your Life Program generates $1 to $2
       million in actual dollars to provide programming for books and
       materials.  Mrs. Weber felt that stronger penal laws for theft
       of books should be sought as the library tends to loose 15% of
       its collection.

       Cm. Joe Guerra spoke of his concerns of pollution and
       contamination of our only source of drinking water which is the
       Rio Grande.

       Mayor Flores stated that she knew that Florencio Pena, City
       Manager worked very hard at getting water to be protected as our
       drinking source to be an issue with the Border Infrastructure
       Committee but he was told that there are a lot of other
       communities working on it already.  I would encourage this
       Council to take a stand on the Sierra Blanca Dump Site because
       if one reads the opponents report of the dump site, they say it
       will not happen but if one reads the proponents report, they say
       it will happen.

       Cm. Guerra further informed Council of his concerns on the
       tuberculosis eradication because there are some kinds of TB that
       are resistant to all types of medication.  Also, this Council
       needs to work with our neighbors in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico with
       the expansion of their water treatment plant in order for them
       not to drop raw sewage into the river.

       Mayor Flores stated that even though Laredo's health department
       is making sure that our children get immunized we are not sure
       if the 600,000 people on the Mexico side are being immunized;
       therefore this is an issue of utmost concern and should be
       addressed.

   V.  ADJOURNMENT

       Motion to adjourn.

       Moved : Cm. Guerra
       Second: Cm. Valdez
       For:  5                          Against:  0         Abstain:  0

       Adjournment time: 6:43 P.M.



       I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE MINUTES CONTAINED IN PAGES 01 TO
       11 ARE TRUE, COMPLETE, AND CORRECT PROCEEDINGS OF THE CITY
       COUNCIL WORKSHOP WITH THE CITY'S LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT HELD ON
       JULY 29, 1998.  A CERTIFIED COPY OF THESE MINUTES IS ON FILE AT
       THE CITY SECRETARY'S OFFICE.



                                        ________________________
                                        GUSTAVO GUEVARA, JR.
                                           CITY SECRETARY