2008-12-10 / Front Page

City promotes 2 police officers at Tues. evening meeting

By Paul Whitworth

Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora announced his plans to promote two of his officers at last night's city meeting.

Andrew Maldonado was promoted to detective and Armin Martinez was promoted to patrol sergeant. A promotion to corporal to replace Martinez was postponed until the next meeting.

City commissioners approved the changes and eight police officers were present to show their support.

City Commissioner Yolanda Alexandre expressed her appreciation to all the police officers. "I would like to thank you all for what you do for us. You are doing fine work, and I know it is difficult especially during the holiday season. I wish there were more of you."

Other commissioners and Mayor Orlando Correa expressed similar approval.

The November municipal judge report showed a total of $8,495.50 collected for fines resulting from city ordinance violations and traffic stops. About half goes into the general fund while the remainder is used to pay court costs.

Police Chief Zamora explained the city's pursuit policy. He said police do not pursue vehicles in the city except for Exp. 77 because it is too dangerous to chase cars in residential areas. He mentioned a chase that was aborted Tuesday afternoon.

Commissioners approved a $250 gift certificate for retiring asst. public works director David Nieto, in lieu of a watch. Nieto has been with the city for 28 years and was given a watch after 25 years.

City manager Eleazar "Yogi" Garcia was given permission to advertise for an electric provider for the city for the coming two years. Garcia said he hopes to get a good contract because the price of energy is going down at present.

Bonds for electricians who want to work in the city were approved. FSG Electric of Corpus Christi and Zurlo's Electric of Weslaco were given the city's okay.

A $50,000 hotel/motel tax budget submitted by the Chamber of Commerce was approved. The funds go for salaries in the office and for promoting the city as a tourist destination.

Public Works director Ventura Nieto was given the okay to hire a full time person in the water dept. and a part time person in the street dept. Both will work 24 hours but the water dept. job comes with city benefits while the other does not.

The tax collectors report shows that $482,799 in city taxes were collected in the first two months of the new fiscal year, Oct. and Nov. That is 49.9 percent of the annual tax levy, Garcia said.

Chief of Police Zamora said the Christmas Parade has been reschduled for Friday evening and "we are ready to go."

Public Works Director Nieto said the city is doing a lot of asphalt patch work on city streets with money received from FEMA.

Condemnation officer Andres Chavez reported that the number of weedy lots in town has diminished significantly. "Right now we are having trouble with people renting unsuitable houses. We are advising the owners not to rent them until they are brought up to standards."

Another problem is people damaging water meters, he said. "We are charging them with criminal mischief and their water won't be connected until they pay for repairs or replacements of the meters," he added.

Finally, Chavez commented, Allied Waste picked up construction materials from July 23 until Oct. 8 because of the hurricane but that was the last of it. A lot of people waited to put their construction materials out and they will be cited."

City manager Garcia said, "We will pick it up and send them a bill, or we will file a lien on the property."

Finally, city hall will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas and will reopen on Friday, Dec. 26.

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