The City of San Antonio today revealed it will spend $2.8 billion in the coming year, and City Manager Sheryl Sculley revealed today how that money will be spent, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
She says the biggest gainers in the budget are street and sidewalk maintenance, and housing programs, to try to fight back against the rising cost of housing which is pushing many families out of their homes.
“Creating a balanced budget that provides residents with increased access to essential services without increasing the City’s property tax rate is one of my highest priorities,” Sculley said. “This year, we’re presenting a budget that takes a big step forward in addressing the basic needs of affordable housing, streets and sidewalks for our community.” T
he budget does not raise the property tax rate, but Councilman Clayton Perry says that's not good enough.
"If you talk to folks out in the community, they're paying more, their property values are going up, so we don't have to raise our rates to keep our services going up," Perry said.
Also in the budget is a $15 an hour minimum wage for all city employees.
"The City Council adopted a policy three years ago that over three years, that the entry wage of city employees would not be lower than $15 an hour," Sculley said.
She says the budget includes additional funding for animal control officers, including one who will enforce the ban on sidewalk sales of small animals. There are also eigth new Park Police positions to staff the new parks, including linear parks, which are being created.
As for the SAPD, Sculley says the priority now is not to enlarge the ranks, but to fill the 109 vacancies that currently exist in the police department.
"Chief McManus has committed to filling the vacancies, and that is something that council made a priority when we held our goal setting sessions," she said.
Garbage collection rates will also go up for people with the largest brown bin. Sculley says the city's recycling rate is only 39%, and she hopes the higher rates, what she calls a 'pay as you throw' plan, will encourage recycling.
The budget is again focused on what the city calls an 'equity lens,' where more money will be directed to underserved parts of the city which in many cases have been overlooked for infrastructure improvements.
The budget will face several community hearings to receive input, before Council votes on it in mid September. The budget takes effect October 1.