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San Antonio City Council Approves Largest Budget At $2.7 Billion

Council-2018-Budget.JPG
Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
The council approved it largest budget ever Thursday.

The San Antonio city Council has unanimously approved its 2018 operating budget.  But getting to the final vote took some legwork when two council members unsuccessfully called for the property tax rate to be rolled back.   

The 2018 budget is $2.7 billion. It’s about 5 percent bigger than 2017. The budget is based on Equity. For example, Districts that have fallen behind in street repairs are getting a boost in allocations. $35 million is being added to streets in five out of the ten districts. District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran says the equity lens will help correct decades of neglect.

“This budget here puts a down payment on generations and disparities and equities that have piled and piled on top of each other until we have no choice but to stare the problem in the face.”

Council members Greg Brockhouse and Clayton Perry called for the city’s property tax rate to be reduced by half a cent. It would have cut 5 million dollars from the city budget and reduced property taxes by about eight dollars. Perry says small increments like that add up over time.

“And after, five, ten years of that, that starts adding up into real money and that’s what I’m talking about.”

The motion failed. District 2 Councilman Cruz Shaw says the council may want tax relief but the way to get there isn’t clear.

“If we’re going to cut back taxes as a city, we need to make sure we cut back things that our constituents agree with.”

Some new additions to the budget include 10 million dollars for VIA’s bus service over two years to increase frequency on some bus routes. The budget takes effect October 1st.