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Proposed $2.7B City Budget Uses 'Equity Lens'

City of San Antonio

The Proposed 2018 City of San Antonio Budget comes in at 2.7 billon dollars. It takes a new approach of dividing some additional city money to some council districts that may need more in repairs than others based on equity.

This is the city’s largest budget. It provides $99 million to street repair across the city, a $14.25 minimum wage for entry level employees, 40 new police officer positions and 43 new fire fighters and EMS responders.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley says the budget uses an equity approach where impoverished districts may get more resources, “servicing perhaps those areas that have been underserved in the past based on historical information and trends.”

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley

One example of that equity is using 35 million dollars in leftover savings from the 2007 and 2012 bonds.

“We’re re-directing those dollars into other needs in the community,” Sculley added.

That money will be used specifically for street repair in districts on the West, South, East and Northeast sides. Specifically Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10.

One city program that might not be coming back is the Shotspotter which detects gunshots on the East and West sides and provides police with a location. Police Chief William McManus says it’s not effective enough.

“We’ve gotten four arrests in almost a year and a half of shot spotter,” McManus said.

The budget keeps the tax rate the same but does include some higher fees. About two million extra dollars will be generated in storm water fees. District Seven Councilwoman Ana Sandoval wants to make sure that money is used appropriately to address flooding and water runoff.

“With our increased development, we have a lot more run-off issues, so are we managing them appropriately? Now is the time to look at that,” Sandoval said.

The budget isn’t final and is open to changes. Council will approve a budget next month. 

Below: A schedule of public hearings on the 2018 Proposed Budget

Credit City of San Antonio

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