SAN ANTONIO - In laying out her vision for the city before the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Ivy Taylor said her top priority is resolving stalled negotiations with the San Antonio Police Officers Association.
"We must see a successful conclusion to the public safety union negotiations that limits the expenses to 66 percent of the general fund budget," Taylor told the gathering on Wednesday.
She said otherwise, it could impact other needed expenditures.
Taylor said she called SAPOA president Mike Helle the day after she was elected, urging the union to return to the bargaining table. Taylor said she and Helle plan to meet this week.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley said the mayor feels strongly about reaching an agreement, "Something that is affordable to the taxpayers and fair to public safety personnel."
A former city planner, city council member and interim mayor, Taylor also is the first African-American woman elected as San Antonio's mayor.
In her speech, Taylor said, "Divisions within our city by income, class and race is not just wrong, it perpetuates the need for expensive social services."
She also said, "More mixed income neighborhoods spread throughout the city is critical."
"We're very excited about her vision for San Antonio, the idea of inclusiveness, building bridges." said Rob Killen, chair of the North San Antonio Chamber.
The Rev. Juan Juarez, pastor at Pyron Avenue Baptist Church on the Southside, said Taylor's victory over Leticia Van de Putte, a veteran lawmaker with deep Westside roots, represents the city's changing diversity.
"I think because of the direction that the city of San Antonio is going and the way it is changing, it's a tell-tale sign of that change," Juarez said.
Taylor said she wants to help the city prepare for the future when it's predicted San Antonio will have an additional one million residents.
She said, "The choices that those new residents make, the choices that we offer them will determine the vitality and sustainability of our city."
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