SAN ANTONIO — City Manager Sheryl Sculley says there is no city property tax rate increase in the $2.8 billion proposed city budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
“Creating a balanced budget that provides residents with increased access to essential services without increasing the City’s property tax rate is one of my highest priorities,” City Manager Sculley said. “This year, we’re presenting a budget that takes a big step forward in addressing the basic needs of affordable housing, streets and sidewalks for our community.”
The proposed budget is 5.4 percent higher than from last year's adopted budget, with the proposed general fund budget at $1.26 billion and restricted funds at $889 million. The proposed 2019 capital budget is at $690 million.
The city says one of the top priorities for the community and city leaders is public safety
Sculley says there are 109 open positions with the San Antonio Police Department and about 5 officers retiring on a monthly basis.
"As we're filling positions people are retiring,” said Sculley. “Nonetheless, on average, historically the city has carried 50 to 60 vacancies at one time."
The city manager says the department is expanding its cadet classes.
In the proposed budget, the city is committing to four classes for 2019.
"The chief feels we can get back to those more normal averages during the course of this budget year," said Sculley.
Other highlights from the proposed budget include:
Increasing the street maintenance budget from $99 million to $110 million, including the continuation of a two-year program to improve the average street condition index to 70% in Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10. An additional $11 million will be allocated to streets in the oldest areas within Loop 410 and Council Districts 8 & 9.
"it's not a onetime effort,” said Sculley. “In fact city council members would like to see us maintain this higher level maintenance for streets."
Sculley says nearly three quarters of major street projects are covered through bond programs
“Even with those large bond programs we're still playing catch up,” said Sculley. “And so our annual operating budget is to compliment the bond program."
Sculley expects to continue funding street maintenance at a higher level in the future because the need is so great.
Sidewalk funding of $19 million, funded through $9 million in Advanced Transportation District (ATD) funds and $10 million from the voter-approved 2017 Bond program.
$17.1 million in increased spending for affordable housing. With existing funding, a total of $25 million for housing, including $4.25 million for continuation of the Under One Roof Program, $7.4 million for housing preservation and repair and $7.75 million for neighborhood improvements.
5 additional animal care service positions officers and one position to improve responsiveness to calls from residents and to address the illegal sale of puppies.
8 new Parks police officers.
Nearly 8,000 residents helped shape the proposed budget via the fourth annual #SASpeakUp campaign, according to a news release. Over the course of the next month, city departments will present their budgets to the city council. City council members will vote on the proposed budget at the 2019 Operating and Capital Budget on Aug. 13.