SAN ANTONIO – Right now, the city of San Antonio is strategizing on how to spend more than $220 million allocated to the community via the American Rescue Plan funds.
But the city doesn’t just want to decide how to spend the money. Instead, officials are looking for public input.
“I think it’s great. I think we have a lot of opinions out here. Come talk to us,” said San Antonio resident Orlando Pacheco.
Pacheco is a citizen excited about what the additional hundreds of millions of dollars could mean for the community.
“We got a total of $327 million from the federal government. The first half came in May of 2021. So we used about 97 million to stabilize the city budget. Specifically our general fund and the hotel occupancy tax that were impacted by COVID-19 as our revenues were down,” María Villagómez San Antonio Deputy City Manager said.
The idea of the city meetings is to see how community members were impacted by COVID and use these funds to respond accordingly.
“We don’t want to spend these dollars without getting input from the community,” Villagómez said.
The city is hosting a series of meetings that are open to the public and the people we spoke with have big ideas.
“I would love it to be spent on infrastructure. I live in this area, Beacon Hill and a lot of our streets and roads are really, really messed up. So I think if we spent it on that island city, I think that’d be a good spender,” Pacheco said.
“We as a city will try to strategize, strategize and make sure that we maximize the funds not only from the infrastructure bill, but there’s other entities in the city that have received ARPA like the county, for example,” Villagómez said.
The plan is for the city to present ideas heard from the community through the month of November and formulate a plan for city council, which will try to adopt a formal plan by January of 2022.
“Please participate. It’s very important for us to know how everyone was impacted by COVID, and everybody has a different story. So we want to make sure that we hear those stories so we can craft a plan that reflects the input of the community,” Villagómez said.
A meeting takes Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Alicia Trevino Lopez senior center, and is open to the public.