Leading SA: Clayton Perry talks coronavirus, Pre-K 4 SA, infrastructure and unfinished business

‘Everything seems to be going up, except people’s paychecks.’

SAN ANTONIO – Navigating the Alamo City and keeping the San Antonio culture alive - these are the top two priorities of San Antonio City Councilman Clayton Perry and District 10.

“Everything seems to be going up, except people’s paychecks,” Perry said.

San Antonio is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, but for a lot of people, what they are seeing grow faster than anything else is their bills. With that being said, what does this growth mean for our city?

“Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell where Austin ends and San Antonio ends. You know that that’s just all under construction right now,” Perry said.

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We asked the councilman - do you view this as a good thing or a bad thing?

“You know, I view it as a good thing because, you know, it’s progress. It’s goods and services to the population. But the issue that I’m having is, are we kind of losing touch with who we are here in San Antonio?” Perry asked.

To prevent people from being taxed out of their homes, councilman Perry has been an advocate of the homestead exemption, a Band-Aid for rising property taxes.

“I guarantee you there's going to be literally probably thousands of people that won't sign up for your homestead exemption and that they're leaving money on the table there. If they're not applying for it and they're not getting it, that's like giving money away,” Perry said.

A top issue Perry is hearing about is homelessness, which he has a unique approach to.

A clinical psychologist that can work with our safe officers going out into the field and identifying those people that really need the help, that will accept the help and actually hold them by the hand and get them to the right locations and the right services and organizations to help them,” Perry said.

Now to one of the big topics of conversations around the city - the coronavirus and the evacuees.

I’ve got issues as to who made that call to bring them off of that quarantine ship to the US into San Antonio. I’ve got an issue with that. And trust me, I’ve been calling our congressional leaders to find out what went on. Who made that decision? And, you know, they didn’t know anymore than we did and when it was happening. So that concerns me,” Perry said.

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Another problem Perry wants to address from concerned citizens is the ongoing road repairs.

“Over the last three years that we have almost tripled the amount of money that we're putting into road repairs, which is fantastic. Are we there yet? I don't think so,” Perry said.

The councilman wants to use taxpayer funds to fix the city’s roads instead of other plans.

“There was one vote out there that voted against it. Guess who that one vote was? It was me,” Perry said.

Perry is referring to a recent vote that placed the PreK 4 SA program on the May ballot.

“I’m not sold that we need another school system in. Again, remember, it’s only 2,000 children,” Perry said. “Do the math on that. $40 to $50 million for 2,000 children."

Perry takes pride in sometimes being the lone voice on the city council as long as he is heard. There was speculation he would maybe move on to the possibility to run for county commissioner, but he stayed put.

“So you have said in the past that the reason that you stayed on city council is because you have a lot of unfinished business. Is the business community your unfinished business?"

"Absolutely... They’re part of the equation. I am going to be looking out. I’m a fiscal hawk, if you will, on what we’re spending our money on and watching out for those negative business policies that are being put out by this council,” Perry said

As we move forward and bring in more and more people, Councilman Perry has a simply goal for San Antonio.

“We are friendly. We’ve got some great traditions. That culture here is fantastic and I hope that doesn’t change."

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