SAN ANTONIO - A hot Texas summer is boosting San Antonio’s revenue this coming fiscal year.
On Thursday, city leaders approved a balanced budget. Several wish list projects were approved as part of an unprecedented one-time revenue bump from CPS Energy.
As a city-owned utility company, CPS Energy generates revenue from sales to the Texas grid outside San Antonio to support the annual budget.
Jeff Coyle, with the city of San Antonio, said summer months, mostly August, bring in between $1 million and $3 million in off-market sales. This August was one of the hottest August months on record and brought in $7.8 million more than what was budged for in the upcoming fiscal budget, resulting in more funds for the city to spend.
“This boost of unprecedented -- what we call off-market sales from CPS (Energy) allowed the city to be able to fund some of those things that were on the wish lists of council members,” Coyle said.
The funds will help pay for a list of projects, including $20,000 for the Viva SA Healthy Corner Store initiative, which helps bring fresh food to the food-insecure area of District 3, $100,000 for the Martin Luther King Jr. March to cover marketing, rental costs and production and $300,000 for the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute at Our Lady of the Lake University in the future to fund its establishment for the first two years. The institute is being touted as being the first of its kind in the country.
An additional $74,430 will be added to enhance the after-school program at Southwest Independent School District to expand the After School Challenges program from three days to five days per week during the school year.
Amanda Huerta said the program helps single mothers like her.
“This helps out with those who can’t get [to school pickup] on time,” she said.
The program also provides tutoring for children after school. Almary Macias said she’s seen her child’s academics improve. “Those who benefit are the kids,” she said in a Spanish interview. “His academics have improved, and as a parent, [the program] is a huge help.”
The list of wish list projects also includes money for preliminary work for a police substation -- which will be included in a 2022 bond program -- parks and help with housing repairs.
Some $2 million was also set aside in reserve for FY 2021 for the impact expected from Senate Bill 2. The bill, which was signed into law, will limit property tax growth, forcing local governments to require voter approval before an increase by more than 3.5%.
But the extra boost in funding and programs can’t be counted on each year, Coyle said.
“We can't expect that it will continue going forward. The things aligned in August, where the temperatures were hot. The statewide energy grid was really strained and CPS (Energy) was in a position to be able to sell its excess energy, and that set of dynamics is not going to always occur,” he said.
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