SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio leaders are starting to shape the next city budget, and they are asking for the public’s input.
Laura Mayes, with the City of San Antonio, joined Leading SA on Sunday to help explain why San Antonian voices are important in the budget process.
“Well, I have to say, this is one of the easiest ways that you can get involved with your city council, especially those new members. The budget process is going to be the first thing that they consider, and it really sets the strategic framework for what the city’s priorities and goals will be over the next year. So the idea is you can share with us or in a quick survey about your funding priorities, that there are certain areas that are really important to you that you don’t want to see cut. And those are things that we ask about in this survey,” Mayes said.
The Speak Up Survey will ask residents about their funding priorities and which areas of the city they think need funds restored that may have been cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mayes.
“We ask about your funding priorities. We ask about the restoration of funds for certain areas that might have been cut during the pandemic, like attracting businesses with economic development incentives, streets and infrastructure maintenance, and other city programs or services that may have been rolled back or cut during the pandemic. So those are the kinds of questions that we hope that folks will answer. And then we also ask them really brief demographic questions, too. And these are important to us to understand who is taking that survey. So as you see those, they’re optional. But if you share that, it helps to let your council member know exactly what you and your neighbors want, your particular council district,” Mayes said.
Mayes added that the city is still recovering from the pandemic and even though our economy has shown signs of recovery, there is some uncertainty.
The city is required by law to pass a balanced budget and to plan a two-year budget.
“We are projecting the shortfall. And so, that’s why we ask the question if there are specific areas of the budget that you don’t want to see cut. Tell us what those are. And we have some options in there that range from anything from streets to public health, police and fire, libraries, parks, those kinds of services. So we are seeing some improvements in the economy. But again, just like your budget at home, when you have to trim back, the city has to do the exact same thing and look at what those priorities are. So when you speak up, it really does make a big difference,” Mayes said.
The full Leading SA interview with Mayes can be viewed in the video player above.