Last week, San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh presented City Council with a fiscal year 2020 budget of $2.9 billion – up 3% despite a loss in revenue streams – that funds new efforts to address public safety, affordable housing and micromobility.
In a press release, Walsh said the proposed budget “focuses on strong families and children, housing affordability, streets and sidewalk infrastructure, public safety and property tax relief.”
The city is having to create workarounds to account for millions in revenue lost as a result of state-level property tax reform; the elimination of fees charged to telecommunications companies for using city infrastructure; a forecasted decrease in CPS Energy revenues; and the Federal Reserve's reduced interest rates.
There are other financial complications related to a new $5,000 homestead exemption and the City's decision not to raise the property tax rate.
In order to balance the 2020 budget without losing public services, resources had to be moved around. Did some projects or programs see a reduction in funding? Were any budget items eliminated completely?
To help recoup losses, the plan would increase the amount of money San Antonio Water System gives the city for the first time in its 27-year history. Will there be an increase in SAWS rates if they owe more to the city?
The proposed General Fund Budget will redirect $6 million in spending to Council and community priorities. What does this mean for residents? How will the ongoing fire union arbitration affect FY 2020 budget?
What are the City’s top budget priorities? Are they in line with those of San Antonio residents? Was the budget drafted with an "equity lens"?
What role did residents play in the budget-crafting process? Will there be more opportunity for public input before Council votes on September 12?
- Erik Walsh, city manager for the City of San Antonio
- Maria Villagómez, deputy city manager for the City of San Antonio
- Laura Mayes, chief communications officer for the City of San Antonio
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, August 12.