SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo City is such a unique place in that we are growing at a rapid pace and yet have a central identity and culture. In the next 20 years, we are expecting the population to grow by at least one million people. So, what’s next for San Antonio?
To answer that, we hear from District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino. His district covers parts of downtown San Antonio and the area just north of it. We talked about a variety of topics, like property taxes, the increase of renters in San Antonio, a new budgeted program to fix sidewalks and new proactive initiatives to prevent gun violence.
“We want to make sure that the success of one thing does not create or threaten the existence of another,” Trevino said.
Bringing in new businesses, new homes, and new money, while keeping the culture alive is a difficult balance San Antonio leaders like Trevino are working to manage.
“We want people to join us. But we also want to protect those that are here that have made our city special and unique. And so, that’s what we work hard to do. That’s our responsibility as a city,” Trevino said.
The councilman is working on a renters commission and is bringing a voice to the huge population of renters in the Alamo City, while simultaneously working to help homeowners avoid eviction and getting taxed out.
“We have a lot of seniors living in their homes on fixed incomes that are having issues, (like) maintaining their homes. And then, of course, this outside pressure of more developments and property taxes and any number of things that are creating these outside pressures that are making people feel insecure about housing,” Trevino said.
That’s why he started the San Antonio Under 1 Roof Program.
“This is a program I started five years ago. It is now funded at $5.2 million a year, which means we get over 500 roofs annually out of this program. We’re now close to about 800 roofs that we’ve completed since the start of the program,” Trevino said.
Property taxes are a hot button issue in San Antonio and Trevino’s district, so along with reminding people of the Homestead Act, there are new measures in the works.
“One of the things that we’re going to be trying out is a neighborhood empowerment zone. The neighborhood empowerment zone allows the city to redirect some of these funds to help stabilize what property taxes might have created in terms of offsetting those taxes,” Trevino said.
Viewers told us some of their biggest concerns in District 1 are sidewalks, or in some cases, the lack of sidewalks.
“We created in last year’s budget. We created, for the first time ever, a Sidewalk Repair Program, so my expectation for sidewalks and for the sidewalk squad is that we need to be tackling this problem and establish meaningful metrics,” Trevino said.
Less than two weeks ago, there was a shooting at a bar on the River Walk that left two people dead and five more injured, so what’s being done to prevent future gun violence?
“One of the things we’ve voted on this year is new entertainment district officers that are going to be out and about, making sure that that they look at these areas. You know, my district specifically sees a lot of nightlife. And I think these officers, these new officers, are going to be a tremendous resource,” Trevino said.
And a new first-of-its-kind police facility could be on its way.
“We have a new public substation coming north of downtown San Antonio. And what’s really amazing about it is we’re going to really sort of have a shift in the way we design our substations so that they’re more like community centers. This will actually be a place that welcomes maybe a neighbor to an association meeting, maybe a community gathering,” Councilman Trevino said.
Trevino has been a councilman since 2014, and has seen growth, and the problems around San Antonio first-hand. And he hopes the steps being take now can help the future of our city.
“We are rated dead last when it comes to poverty. We are rated the number one economically segregated city in our country. We have created these red lines historically. And you know what? I think what I’ve learned is that the city is ready to resolve these things,” Trevino said.