Bexar County Commissioners today approved a 2019 budget which slightly lowers the tax rate, while still bringing in more money for county operations, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The budget went through several changes, including a previous proposal to eliminate 15 County Constable and County Justice of the Peace positions.
The rationale for the reductions was that Constables used to focus on enforcing truancy laws, but the Legislature has decriminalized truancy, meaning it is no longer a matter for law enforcement.
But community groups spoke out against cuts in law enforcement, after the planned reductions were first revealed by 1200 WOAI's Morgan Montalvo.
County Judge Nelson Wolff says Bexar County has consistently cut its tax rate, which has saved taxpayers $120 million over the past decade.
"This has meant a significant savings to the taxpayers due to the significant cuts, and it goes down lower this year," he said.
Despite a lower tax rate, Bexar County will realize additional revenue due to the growth in construction in the county.Wolff also pointed out that Bexar County also has a top AAA bond rating.
He says San Antonio gets a lot of attention for its bond rating, but Bexar County matches that rating, which is the highest granted to government entities.
Although the County’s Flood Control Program is almost complete, a $2.5 million expansion and upgrade of the County’s High Water Life Saving Technology (HALT) Program was approved. Additional sites will be added, traffic arms will upgraded, new hardware installed and software will be upgraded.
“Recent heavy rains have demonstrated the County’s need to continue to improve our existing HALT system,” stated Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo. “The $2.5 million dollar upgrade, will allow for software and hardware updates, additional locations to be added and improved safety for residents. The overwhelming success of this program has prevented many needless tragedies and accidents.”