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Commissioners Approve Bexar County Budget

Bexar County
Credit Eileen Pace
Bexar Co. Deputies turn out in support of Sheriff Pamerleau's request for additional emergency funding for jail staffing. Jan, 2013. Bexar Co. Commissioners approved a budget for 2013-2014 that includes $9 million for BCSO for training, court security management, prisoner control, emergency response, weapons certification, and a new digital records management system

  Bexar County Commissioners have approved a budget of $1.6 billion for the coming fiscal year, which includes an increase of $2.5 million in record management funds -- things like fees for platting and marriage licenses.

The property tax rate did not increase, but Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Wolff explained in court Tuesday morning that in good economic times when property values go up, taxpayers are often confused about why their tax bill is higher.

"Our tax rate stays the same, however, because the valuation of the property has increased year after year it has an effect of increasing the total taxes by 3 percent," Wolff said.

County Manager David Smith says the budget is $200 million dollars less than the previous year.

"It's mostly less because we have finished a number of large capital projects including the Mission Reach and the San Antonio River," Smith said. "So once those capital projects are off the books your budget can drop if you don't replace them with new projects."

Also in the budget are 7 percent raises for non-exempt employees, cost of living raises of 3 percent for other employees, and 2 percent for elected officials.

An increase of $9 million was approved for the sheriff's office to address public safety through training, court security, prisoner control, emergency response and weapons certification.

Vehicle registrations have been increased by $10, but that is separate from the county budget. That increase was mandated by the last special session of the legislature as part of the governor’s transportation program. The extra $10 will go straight to the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority for roads.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.