LV city employees may see raise – Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Special to the PRESS

On  Wednesday,  September 7, 2022 the Laguna Vista Town Council Meeting was called to order by Mayor Michael Carter promptly at 6:01pm.  Also present were Council Member 1, Christopher Romero, Council Member 2, Johvonne Howard, Council Member 4, Victor Worrell, Council Member 5, Silke De Gobeo., Mayor Protem Rolando Gonzalez and City Attorney Alan Ozuna. Following Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call, it was determined that there were no participants present for the Open Forum segment so the meeting moved forward to the New Business segment.
The first order of New Business was the consideration to approve a resolution to authorize the Laguna Vista Police Chief to submit a grant application to  the  Governor’s office for the fiscal year 2023 Ballistic Shield Grant Program. The Chief spoke briefly, explaining that the portability of the newly developed roll up Kevlar shields would allow Laguna Vista officers to routinely carry them in their vehicles, allowing for a more rapid response to any possible active shooter events. Mayor Carter offered a motion to approve and Council Member Worrell moved to second the motion which received unanimous approval.
Next, City Manager Rendie Gonzales and Town Bookkeeper Crystal Chapa addressed the panel regarding a review of and approval for an open hearing regarding the proposed FY 2023 tax rate. Gonzales stated that the recommendation was for the tax rate to remain at the current .404124 amount, allowing the growth of the city’s tax base to cover the anticipated higher operational costs. Council Member Worrell offered a motion to approve the open meeting which was seconded by Council Member Howard and unanimous approval followed.
Following that, City Manager Gonzales reviewed other budgetary items including a 5% pay increase for city employees. This, she stated, “to allow team members to keep pace with the current inflationary conditions.”
It was mentioned that the annual cost to renew the agreement with the City of Los Fresnos to handle EMS services for Laguna Vista was increasing from $60,000 to $70,000. Council Member Romero opened a discussion on the future possibility of EMS services to be handled internally by the City of Laguna Vista. It was discussed that start up costs in excess of $1,000,000 were involved and that, in the light of current budgetary restraints, the arrangement with Los Fresnos seemed the best course of action.
Council Member de Gobeo also spoke in regard to the City Library. She outlined the importance of making sure that the facility was being used to the maximum advantage of the community. Library Director Mireles and City Manager Gonzales responded, assuring her that tracking was being done and that information would be made available to Council. Mayor Carter also spoke of the “changing requirements of modern libraries” to serve the needs of today’s users and stressing the importance of making sure the Laguna Vista facility was keeping pace.

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