Thursday, August 13, 2009


At their first regular monthly meeting on Wednesday evening, Aug. 5, the Rio Grande City Board of Aldermen approved extended hours for the sale of alcoholic beverages for three days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The agenda item read as follows: “Final reading and adoption of Ordinance No. 2009-2 revising Article IV, Section 6-404 Extended Hours Sale of Alcoholic Beverages.”

City Administrator Juan Zuniga indicated, “This is the second and final reading related to non-restaurant establishments. It would allow them to stay open till 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They would be required to have a (certified) security officer during the extended hours.”

Mayor Ruben O. Villarreal commented, “We need to allow businesses flexibility to operate. Security and safety are important, so the use of a certified peace officer will be required.”

Zuniga indicated that the action could be rescinded at some point in the future if the city is dissatisfied with the results.

The aldermen approved Resolution No. 2009-6 enacting a Municipal Annexation Plan on three tracts of land. Zuniga indicated that one tract was 385.66 acres behind the Public Utility Department building, another tract is 312.13 acres stretching 2 1/2 miles east of the city limits along U.S. 83, and another tract is 325.49 acres stretching 2 1/2 miles to the west of the city limits to the intersection of U.S. 83 and Alvarez Road.

Zuniga noted that the two latter tracts cover the roadway of U.S. 83, plus 500 feet on each side of the highway.

Zuniga said, “The intersection on Alvarez Road will be inside city limits to facilitate emergency response. These properties cannot be inside city limits until three years from the anniversary of this action, which would be Aug. 5, 2012. After that, an ordinance will need to be adopted.”

Alderman Ruben D. Saenz moved, seconded by Alderman Arcadio Salinas III that the annexation plan be approved and the motion passed without dissent.

City Secretary Holly Guerrero later explained to The Rio Grande Herald, “For the annexation to come about, the city will need to provide fire and police service (in those areas) with a response time as good or better than it has been. We will have to fully pay for any services we provide and provide adequate equipment and personnel.”

The aldermen approved a revision to the Rio Grande City Municipal Library policies for computer online filters. Zuniga explained, “This is our attempt to keep up with technology. This is an attempt to protect our users (of library computers).”

Mayor Villarreal emphasized, “There’s a tremendous demand for use of library computers.” Zuniga noted, “Anyone 13 or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

Villarreal stressed, “Ms. (Norma) Fultz (Library Director) does a tremendous job with the library. We now have Yi-Fi.” Fultz indicated, “We have 11 computers for public access. We average between 1000 and 1500 users per month.” Villarreal contended, “We run a very good operation on basically a shoestring budget.”

Villarreal asked Fultz, “Do you approve these guidelines?” Fultz responded, “Yes.”

Guerrero later pointed out, “The library action is in compliance with the (federal) Children’s Internet Protection Act.”

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