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San Antonio City Council Passes $2.5 Billion Budget

City Manager Sheryl Sculley

  The San Antonio City Council unanimously passed a mammoth $2.5 billion budget today; the largest in the city’s history.

 Among some of the new initiatives included are a gunshot detection system and 1300 body cameras for police officers. The budget was passed amid ongoing police and fire department negotiations over healthcare and wage contracts which City Manager Sheryl Sculley says continue to outgrow the city’s capacity to fund it.

“Those expenses over the past five years have grown greater than our general fund revenue increases and have crowded out some of the other services,” Sculley said. “The community has told us they want to see more spending on street maintenance, sidewalk construction, and that we should keep our public safety within sixty-six percent of the general fund. That was the unanimous policy direction of the City Council.”

If there is no contact soon, Sculley says the city may not have to cut into current services to pay for any increased healthcare costs it will instead come out of proposed wage increases for uniformed employees.

The budget also gives employees a cost of living increase and boosts the minimum wage for City of San Antonio workers to a minimum hourly rate of $13. The council voted to reduce the property tax rate by ¾ of a cent for homeowners. That will cost the city about $6 million and save taxpayers about $11 on their annual tax bill.

The City’s 2016 fiscal year begins on October 1st.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules