City of Laredo responds to food expenditures

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:44 AM CST
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - During a KGNS’ On Your Side report, we took a dive into what’s eating your tax dollars.

During our findings, we discovered that nearly $40,000 was spent by the City of Laredo on just food alone within a ten month period.

A representative for the city is explaining what some of the purchases were used for.

A total of $39,396.97 was the exact amount of money the city credit card holders spent between October 2020 and august of this year, with the exception of April because those records weren’t provided by the city.

Under the city’s credit card policy and procedures manual, food is as an allowable purchase for business meeting, city council meeting, travel and emergencies.

During our research, we found that thousand of dollars were spent at the Taco Palenque franchise, Chick-Fil-A, Longhorn Steakhouse and Whataburger.

We also identified the highest spenders as Maria Tina Martinez from the community development department, assistant city manager Riazul Mia, and Deputy City Manager Rosario Cabello.

After crunching the numbers, we also found that February was one of the big purchase months at around $7,264.

The city says in February that money was spent on food for the warming shelters that were set up as a result of the winter freeze.

Laredo’s Communications administrator Noraida Negron says, “We did open a warming center at the Sames Auto Arena that was open all the way for two weeks.”

Negron says they fed them three meals a day for about two weeks and fed the volunteers who helped during that time.

The city also says that some of the food they purchased within the ten month period was for people assisting with vaccine drives or COVID-19 clinics.

We asked what percentage of the $39,000 was used for food for volunteers but no answer has been provided at this time.

Negron says, “We have so many people and organizations that can help us their volunteers and even our own employees as well that were working day in day out, long hours. Therefore, we do of course we would like to give that to our community.”

As far as April’s records, we’ve just received those from the city and after crunching the numbers we found that it was one of the least food purchase months.

A non-food purchase we noticed in the data that’s important to note was over an over $2,000 purchase to Wayfair, the online furniture store by Riazul Mia.

The city says that the purchase was made to update furniture in the city.

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