SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The San Antonio City Council has approved a $2.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 that focuses on five areas outlined by City Manager Erik Walsh–affordable housing, streets and sidewalks, police and fire departments, strong families and children, and property tax relief.
It allocates money for 3 new firefighters.
“Additional funding was included within the police department of $1.3 million that focuses on domestic violence initiatives and adds an additional 16 police officers to increase supervision for the crisis response team and enhanced follow up for victims,” said Walsh.
District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran was pleased to see $500,000 to help get a police substation in her South Side District. She also thanked Walsh and his staff for having budget town halls in every council district. She said they were long and detailed, but she’s glad they took time to answer questions.
“You treated our residents with the dignity and respect that they deserve because we answer to them,” said Viagran.
It’s the 7th budget for councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, and she called it “the most positive budget experience that I’ve had.”
It includes more than $34 million for affordable housing. It also allocates $110 million for street maintenance, which will fund more than 1,300 projects.
The property tax rate remains unchanged, and council members earlier this summer approved a homestead exemption which amounts to an annual savings of about $28 for the average homeowner.
City Council members will divy up $870,000 to increase their staff members’ salaries.
The council also approved $500,000 for the National Institute of Mexican-American History of Civil Rights in San Antonio. Councilwoman Gonzales says the stories of the Mexican-American Civil Rights movement need to be told.
At the start of the meeting, Mayor Ron Nirenberg laid out some new rules.
“What’s new is that our council now will stay seated,” he said.
Nirenberg said that applies to times when council members recuse themselves because of a possible conflict of interest. He then held up a sign with the word “recuse.”
“Rather than leaving the dais, the council member will place the recusal sign next to them and not vote or participate in the discussion,” said Nirenberg.