SAN ANTONIO – The $2.9 billion total budget for fiscal year 2020 is the largest to date for San Antonio, and Mayor Ron Nirenberg says the focus is on the basics.
“The biggest portion of our budget is public safety. We have a $20 million increase in the police budget, a $4 million increase in the fire budget,” he said.
Here’s the proposed breakdown:
$1.27 billion is going to the general fund to keep the city running through public safety, parks, streets and city departments
$937 million will fund things such as solid waste disposal, the airport and employee compensation
$715 million is set aside for capital improvements
A side-by-side comparison to last year’s budget shows an increase from $2.8 billion in 2019 FY to $2.9 billion in FY 2020.
The police and fire departments will get more funds, and streets and infrastructure will also see more funds. The increase, according to the mayor, reflects the city’s population growth.
District 3 has $500,000 to celebrate, Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran said, after budget amendments, funds were allocated to the $20 million or so needed to build a new police substation.
“This is a monetary commitment that we're getting from the city that, yes, we're going to be getting a substation, a police substation, in District 3,” Viagran said.
A voter-approved bond will still be needed in the future to pay for the substation in full.
About $1 million will also be set aside to battle the homeless issue in the city and combat domestic violence, something worth highlighting, according to Nirenberg.
“We need to do everything we can to keep our organizations that are providing victims assistance and other violence prevention services going,” he said.
He said he’s also proud of the city’s approval of a homestead tax exemption this spring and no tax rate increase.
The budget will include funding to hire a chief officer to coordinate the affordable housing program and support the Alamo Promise Program, which is a tuition-free community college program for students in the county.
The budget will support the hiring of about 100 new city positions.
The City Council is expected to vote on the proposed 2020 budget at 9 a.m. Thursday.