SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council on Thursday approved a $2.8 billion budget proposal.
The fiscal year 2019 budget includes no property tax rate increase and sets aside $110 million for street maintenance.
"This budget has been fully vetted, reviewed by the community and now approved by the City Council. After I proposed the budget on Aug. 9, we held eight work sessions with the City Council and seven community days across San Antonio to allow residents an opportunity to meet with departments to learn more about services provided to them," said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. "More families and millennials participated in the budget development process this year through the SASpeakUp campaign. Residents overwhelmingly supported major funding initiatives for streets, sidewalks, public safety and animal care services."
The adopted FY 2019 budget includes:
- Increased street maintenance funding from $99 million to $110 million, continuing a two-year program to improve the average street condition index to 70 in Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10, and adds funding to address poor street conditions inside Loop 410 and the oldest areas of Council Districts 8 and 9.
- Sidewalk funding of $19 million. Sidewalks are prioritized based on criteria such as proximity to schools, pedestrian safety, transit and health care facility access.
- Filling police vacancies in the next year. With the SAPD's enhanced recruitment efforts and four academy classes scheduled next year, unfilled positions are estimated to be under 50 by the end of 2019.
- Two additional SAFFE officers.
- Five additional Animal Care Services positions to improve response times to resident requests and to address illegal sale of puppies online, roadside and outdoor markets.
- Property tax relief for seniors and residents with disabilities. In 2019, the city will forego $52 million in property tax revenue from the senior and disabled homestead exemptions and frozen city tax payments. The city makes up only 20% of the annual property tax bill.
- An allocation of $17.1 million in new funding to implement the Mayor's Housing Policy Task Force recommendations. When combined with current funding, the proposed budget includes a total of $25 million for affordable housing supported by general funds, Housing and Urban Development grants and the San Antonio Housing Trust.
- Three additional code enforcement officers.
- New funding of $1 million to operate and maintain recently completed parks capital projects to include 108 new acres.
- Eight new parks police officers are added for linear creek ways and new parks funded through the voter-approved bond program.
- Library funding for books and digital materials, maintenance, furniture and computer replacement.
Seven SASpeakUp Community Days, including the first-ever young professionals' night in collaboration with local bloggers, were held across San Antonio to educate the community about the proposed budget, provide information about city services available to them and gather input.
Nearly 8,400 residents helped shape the proposed budget through the #SASpeakUp campaign, up from under 2,000 just four years ago.