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2018 City Budget Expected to Use 'Equity Lens'

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Kiran Kaur Bains, Chief Equity Officer for the City of San Antonio makes a presentation on equity to the San Antonio City Council

The City of San Antonio intends to put a perspective of equity in its budget for the 2018 fiscal year.  This means some council districts that have been at an economic disadvantage for many years could potentially see a larger share of money.  

On Wednesday, the city council heard a presentation about decades of racial housing segregation in San Antonio and its impact on economic opportunity from Trinity University professor Christine Drennon.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley says the city will use an equity lens for this year’s budget based on a request from the city council during its goal setting session in June.

“They said they wanted better equity - that is - some districts are just more impoverished than others and that we need to address street conditions, sidewalks, animal care services, at a higher level in those areas of greatest need.”

City budgets in recent years have reached $2.5 billion. The city  currently uses 'rough proportionality' in its budget  allocations. For instance,  street repair funds are roughly distributed evenly between the ten districts. An equity approach could alter the proportions based on need. 

“If we’re going to truly say to our community that it shouldn’t matter what side of town you live on, what zip you live on, or what neighborhood you live in, you’re going to have the same opportunity to have good road conditions and functioning sidewalks, this is what it looks like," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

The budget will be presented to council Thursday. Council is expected to approve a budget in September. 

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