$2.9 Billion San Antonio City Budget Proposed

The proposed $2.9 billion City of San Antonio budget for fiscal 2020 includes new funding to fight domestic violence, deal with homelessness, and to add 101 new positions to the City's work force, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The budget includes a small homestead tax exemption and does not include an increase in the property tax rate. But property tax revenue will increase by 5.4%, due to property valuation increases and a large increase in the number of taxable properties in the growing city.

Among the highlights are increases in spending of $1 million for programs to strengthen families and fight domestic violence, and a $1.1 million increase to deal with the growing problem of homelessess, including a $500,000 boost for the city's Haven for Hope integrated homeless facility, and a half million dollars for programs designed to help keep people who are on the edges of homelessness in their homes.

The family violence initiatives will largely be focused on advertising, school based programs, and child abuse training.

Included in the $479 million budget for the Police Department is $1.3 million for crisis response officers and other programs to deal with family violence.

The City will continue its focus on affordable housing, with $23.3 million to support the construction of new low and moderate income housing.

$110 million is designated for street improvements in the coming fiscal year, something which is always near the top of the list of demands from citizens. 1377 separate street projects are planned during the year, from pothole repair to street widening and consruction.

$219,000 is earmarked for a 'micro-mobility team' to oversee construction of new bicycle lanes. The City has been criticized by the growing number of bicycle commuters for not doing enough to insure the safety of bike riders, which is prompted fewer people to ride bikes in the City.

$333,000 is allocated in the budget for the Migrant Resource Center, which deals with refugees who are coming through San Antonio.

The city staff will be increased by 101, including new civilian and public safety personnel, and city employees are in line for a 3% across the board pay raise.

The budget was put together dealing with reductions in several areas where the city receives income. Most notably is a loss of more than $7 million in payments that telecommunications companies pay to use the city's infrastructure, after action was taken by the Legislature in the 2019 session.

That money will be made up by transferring money from the City-owned San Antonio Water System to the City, a move that SAWS says will not require the utility to increase water rates.

Mayor Nirenberg said the transfer is similar to a private company sending dividends to investors. In this case, SAWS is using its cash on hand to help improve the lives of San Antonians.

Several public hearings are set over the coming month, with the council expected to approve the amended budget in early September.

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