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Eagle Ford: New chief going after old warrants
Chief Michael Pimentel of the Elmendorf Police Department gives a report to the Elmendorf City Council at its March 14 meeting.
ELMENDORF -- Chief Michael Pimentel of the Elmendorf Police Department, who took the helm less than a month ago, already is dropping the hammer on those with outstanding warrants.
Pimentel, during his report to the Elmendorf City Council at its March 14 meeting, said the city collected more than $7,000 in fines last month. He plans to dedicate one reserve officer to going after those with old warrants -- some of which have been outstanding for several years -- so that these fine payments can be added to the city’s coffers.
The chief also said that the department is closer than it ever has been to achieving a goal set forth in an earlier council initiative. Pimentel said that with the help of the department’s reserve officers who supplement its paid personnel, Elmendorf is moving closer to 24-hour police coverage. In fact, on the weekend of March 15-17, Pimentel said the coverage schedule would have “zero gaps,” as someone was scheduled to be on duty around the clock.
Also related to the police department, the council voted unanimously to promote David Rios to the rank of sergeant. Pimentel praised Rios for the leadership he has displayed among his fellow officers, and also for his continued assistance in the chief’s transition.
Also during the meeting, Mayor Manuel Decena was forced to break a tie, voting in favor of granting a variance to Jose Esquivel related to the age of a mobile home he recently moved to the city. The council deadlocked after a lengthy discussion, when Councilman R.M. “Andy” Anderson moved to grant the variance, with Councilman Jesse Garcia seconding the motion. The two voted in favor, while councilmen Linda Ortiz and Tommy Hicks voted in opposition.
Because of an alleged miscommunication between the city and him, Esquivel had the mobile home moved to a property in the Ranchview residential subdivision prior to obtaining the necessary permits. The home does not comply with city ordinances related to its age, because it was manufactured more than five years ago. If the council had not granted the variance, Esquivel would have been required to move the trailer elsewhere.
Esquivel still must obtain building permits and septic permits. He also must apply for a second variance because the home is smaller than the size allowed under city ordinance, said City Administrator Cody Dailey.
In other business, the council approved an engagement agreement with the law firm of Shotts, Trevino & Guevara, LLP. The firm has represented the city for three years at a rate of $150 per hour. Under the new agreement, the fee increased immediately to $175 per hour, and will increase to $200 per hour with the passage of the next fiscal year’s budget later this year.
Attorney Michael Guevara from the firm said the average minimum fee for Texas cities of comparable size usually ranges from $225 to $275 per hour.
In attendance: Mayor Manuel Decena and councilmen Linda Ortiz, Jesse Garcia, Tommy Hicks, and R.M. “Andy” Anderson; City Administrator Cody Dailey, City Secretary Roxanne DeLeon, and City Attorney Michael Guevara; Chief Michael Pimentel and Sgt. David Rios of the Elmendorf Police Department.
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