San Antonio River Authority approves tax increase for flood preparations

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio River Authority, or SARA, approved a 7.5 percent tax hike to invest in upgrading flood models officials say are 10 years old.

Stephen Graham, assistant general manager, said SARA began budget planning for this investment three months ago in light of the major damage Hurricane Harvey caused to Houston.

Fast Facts:

  • SARA's tax rate has stayed flat or decreased for the past five years with this year being the first increase since then.

  • The total budget is at $222.4 million, with $44.6 million going toward the general fund.

  • The general fund pays for things like flood risk management and water quality.

  • New tax rate changes the current tax rate of 1.73 cents to 1.86 cents per every $100 of assessed property valuation.

  • The average homeowner yearly tax would go from $31.30 per year to $35.59, with only a $4.29 increase.

  • SARA budgeted spending $4.8 million this year and plans to have $15 million to $20 million spent on research and new flood remodeling in three years.

“That small investment in our community will go a long way to making us more resilient and ready for the next flood when it happens here,” Graham said. “It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. These tools, these mappings, predicting flood systems, and we need those things now.”

“The federal government says for every dollar you spend in preparation of a flood is $6 you save in damage on the backside, so we are saying let’s spend that money proactively on the front side, rather than reacting on the back side,” Graham said.

“We definitely work with the city to make sure development doesn’t occur in those critical areas,” Graham said. “We have also found in urban areas, downtown and others where we are intensifying the amount of development and growth that we need to develop in a smart way.”

For more information on flood models or how you can better know when flooding is taking place, visit the following web sites:

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