San Antonio – Wednesday night’s rain did little to wash away San Antonio City Council member’s convictions that more money is needed for drainage and flood control projects.
The first draft the five-year, $1.2 billion 2022 bond program the city staff presented to the city council Wednesday night contained $150 million for drainage, which they said would be supplemented by an additional $38 million from a stormwater fund. However, the city has $3.1 billion worth of drainage and flood control work to do, and several council members wanted more bond money put towards those and other basic infrastructure needs.
“I, in good faith, cannot support a bond package that only has one drainage project for District 5 when all I hear from my constituents is their concerns about drainage flooding and how it impacts their foundation, and it’s causing their homes and their rental properties to shift,” Councilwoman Teri Castillo told city staff on Wednesday.
Castillo told KSAT on Thursday that her goal is still to ensure more money go towards drainage and that her district gets more work done.
District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval also wants to see more money committed to drainage, telling KSAT on Thursday she thinks the $150 million should be $200 million instead.
“I think it’s a reasonable improvement from what we had - from what we have right now, and just eyeballing some of the other projects and what I think we’ll be able to negotiate, that’s that’s my target right now,” Sandoval said.
It’s unclear if that will happen, though, or if that particular suggestion comes too late. Wednesday’s council conversation was meant to be council members’ opportunity suggest adjustments to the bottom-line funding levels to the five major areas of the bond, which staff had suggested be set at:
- Streets, Bridges & Sidewalks - $450 million
- Drainage & Flood Control - $150 million
- Parks & Recreation - $300 million
- Facilities - $150 million
- Housing - $150 million
Both Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Manager Erik Walsh said at the end of the discussion they hadn’t heard any dramatic changes to those bottom-line funding levels. Walsh told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting he and city staff would tweak their recommendations based off the council members’ comments, many of which were about providing more money for basic infrastructure projects.
Sandoval said she planned to meet with Walsh and Nirenberg about her proposal.
A set of five, council-appointed committees will take up the individual portions of the bond later this month to refine the project lists. Walsh said there’s a possibility that money could be shifted between the major areas of the bond during that phase, too.
Once the committees have finalized their recommendations, the city council will consider them and approve a final version of the bond program to put in front of voters to vote up or down in the May 2022 election.