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Council Approves SA Budget



By Bill O'Neil

San Antonio's City Council caps off a very busy couple of weeks with a thumbs up on a budget plan for the coming fiscal year. 

All in all, Mayor Julian Castro said he's pleased with the final numbers. 

"(While) at the same time dealing with the constraints that many cities--including this one--have faced over the last several years" the Mayor said, adding "This budget was a more challenging budget than we've faced in the last couple of years--but I beleive we've come in for a soft landing."

Part of the spending plan includes a new dollar fee added to your CPS Energy bill--which will be used to help the city ease what would have otherwise been some deep cuts in funding for park services. 
 
"This additional capacity also allows the general fund to reinstate library hours, (and) ten positions within the Crisis Response Team affecting domestic violence" said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran is pleased the additional cash will keep a community center inside of her district open.  

"It was being very well used... I was happy to be there and to know this will remain open for our community" Viagran said.  

But ther eare also critics of the plan--which also comes with a warning.

"To fund what we're doign today, we're looking at perhaps a $24 million challenge next year--and that does not include any wage increases for uniform or civilian employees" Sculley said, adding Moody's has expressed some discomfort with the city's bottom line--despite recently reaffirming San Antonio's AAA bond rating.  
 
"I take seriously the advice from Moody's interms of what we need to right on our ship" said Councilman Ron Niremberg, who voted against the CPS Energy fee--seeing it more as a tax increase.  
 
"We're in a position right now as an entire city--looking at a fiscal reality that we really need to be careful about how we spend out money. We have to make tough choices--and I don't want to get caught in a game of kick the can" Niremberg said. Councilman Carlton Soules echoed that sentiment. 

"The issues that we're facing are fairly stroightforward--we're spending more money than we're bringing in" Soules said, adding "I think the fix is equally straightforward--reduce spending in non-essential areas--and eliminate spending on non-essential projects."

Soules also voiced concern over the city's sale of property to help generate more cash.  

 

 
 

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