Thu. Jun 4th, 2020

The Lake Front

News for the students. By the students.

San Antonio city budget: Where is the investment on the West Side?

SAN ANTONIO- San Antonio’s District 5 is the section of town that stretches 22 miles West from the Downtown area. Known for its Mexican and Tejano culture, the Westside is predominately Hispanic and working class. Despite its past of declining investments in public infrastructure and services, it is home to historic sites.

District 5’s representative on the council, Shirley Gonzales, has devoted to fairly allocate the city’s investments, resources, and services to the residents. With her constant effort of fair investment, residents of District 5 can expect positive changes that will ultimately benefit the future of the community. But just how much and where are the funds being allocated?

San Antonio map divided into sections between districts

First things first, what is the Fiscal Year 2020?

The state fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year and named for the calendar year in which it ends (e.g., July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, is FY 2020).

What is the city’s total budget?

The city’s total budget for 2020 is 2.8 billion, 3.2% higher than the FY19 city budget – all done without raising the city’s property tax rate.  

Is there a catch to not raising the city’s property tax rate?

Yes. To cover lost revenue, San Antonio residents could end up paying higher utility bills in the near future.

Where does the money come from?

A high percentage of revenue comes from taxes and debt proceeds. The rest is a combination of CPS Revenue, charges for services, grants and additional monies. 

Revenues: $2,839,051,626

(Where the Money Comes From)

Out of the 2.8 billion dollar city budget, how much of that is going towards District 5?

Approx. 3.5 million.

The lack of public feedback in the past led the city to the initiative of its public outreach campaign, SASpeakUp, in which residents voiced their budget priorities in the community.

What is the SASpeakUp Campaign?

The Government & Public Affairs Department, in partnership with the Office of Management and Budget, conducts an annual SASpeakUp Campaign meeting to receive community feedback and input on budget priorities and opinions. There has been an increase in participation since the initiation of this campaign four years ago. According to the San Antonio FY 2019 files, “through a multi-faceted marketing effort, more than 7,800 responses were received, compared to 6,082 in 2017, 5,100 in 2016 and 1,900 in 2015.”

According to residents, what were the community priorities?

As the chart shows below (2019), some of the main concerns for residents of the community were the reconstruction of streets and sidewalks with public safety being the last priority.

Did they listen to the residents? Are the SASpeakUp requests being put into effect?

Yes. The concern for the sidewalk and streets is being addressed, but public safety still remains a top priority to the city, which means more money will be invested in the department.

According to Councilwoman Gonzales, what improvements in the community will be done with the 2020 district budget?

This year the city increased public safety budget by 3.3 percent from $794.3 million last year. District 5 will be hiring three new firefighters to staff Fire Station 44, it is the city’s busiest station. Click here for a break down on the district’s spending for FY 2020.

To join or learn more about SASpeakUp, go to https://www.saspeakup.com/ for updates on events.

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