City mulls smoking ban

RAYMONDVILLE — Across most of the city, the last day to light up might be coming soon.

In a meeting, city commissioners are expected to approve an ordinance banning smoking in most enclosed areas in town.

The ordinance targets tobacco and electronic smoking.

It includes businesses, restaurants and nightclubs, Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said yesterday.

If approved, the ordinance would take effect 10 days later.

“Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed public buildings within the city,” the proposed ordinance states.

If commissioners approve the ordinance, Raymondville would join Rio Grande Valley cities such as Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen that have passed smoking bans.

Officials are expected to approve the ordinance without public opposition.

In two previous meetings, residents spoke up in favor of the proposed ban, City Manager Eleazar Garcia said.

Gonzales said the American Heart Association helped push for the ordinance.

“I feel good about it,” Gonzales said. “It affects a lot of people. It’s to try to keep everybody healthy indoors — for employees who work inside. It’s better health for the people.”

Cruz Tijerina, owner of the popular Boot Company Bar and Grill, does not oppose the proposal.

“It’s not going to affect me at all,” Tijerina said. “We haven’t allowed smoking ever.”

The ordinance would ban smoking in outdoor areas within 25 feet of entrances, operable windows and ventilation systems.

And it might even keep residents out of the city’s only eight-liner arcade, Gonzales said.

“If it deters the people from going to maquinitas (eight-liner machines), it’s even better,” Gonzales said. “People would have more money to spend at the store and to pay their bills.”

Under the ordinance, violators would face fines of up to $2,000 a day.

The ordinance would allow smoking in designation hotel rooms and exempt outdoor areas.