The City of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services Department (ACS) maintained a strong focus on increasing its live release rate during FY2013, which was a historic year for ACS with 7,165 animals adopted – the most placements in the department’s history. This included a shelter record of 755 placements in the month of July alone. Through the High Volume Placement Partner and Rescue Placement Incentive Programs, 11,860 pets were rescued in fiscal year 2013, while the Animal Care Foster program saw a 150 percent increase in the number of pets sent to temporary care.
One of the most exciting new projects launched in FY2013 by ACS was the Trap Neuter Return program. In addition to opening a new placement avenue for cats, the program reduced feline intake by 20 percent over the previous year, an important statistic when considering the nationally-recognized difficulty in placing cats. ACS also had continued success with its Comprehensive Neighborhood Sweeps Initiative (CNSI). The program is a multi-pronged enforcement strategy designed to increase responsible pet ownership. Each CNSI effort focuses on education, pet owner resources and enforcement actions in neighborhoods with high call volume and/or bite reports. Ten neighborhoods were targeted for CNSI sweeps in this fiscal year with 20 low cost pet resource clinics. More than 27,000 homes were reached through CNSI blockwalks.
To provide long-term capacity for ACS, the Department partnered with the local Animal Defense League (ADL) for the construction of a new kennel facility. Built on-site at ADL and managed by the non-profit, the new kennels will only house pets brought in from ACS. This new collaboration will result in the rescue of more than 3,184 additional pets annually for the term of the 25-year agreement.
In order to promote long-term solutions to pet over-population, increased emphasis on spaying/neutering remained a priority for ACS. There were 25,938 pet sterilization surgeries completed through the efforts of ACS.
Opened in fall 2013, the Brackenridge multi-use pet center features a welcoming pet adoption center, public spay/neuter clinic and a special events pavilion - all built on the grounds of the former City shelter. The center was made possible, in part, thanks to a joint $1 million donation from Petco, Inc. and the Petco Foundation. In recognition of that generosity, the clinic and pavilion bear the Petco name for five years while the adoption building will permanently honor Paul Jolly, a long-time Petco employee and nationally-known animal advocate. On-site partners, San Antonio Pets Alive! and Pet Shotz, Inc. will manage the facility for ACS.
As a resource for pet owners in need, ACS opened a “pet pantry” at the shelter. More than 24,000 pounds of dog food and 4,600 pounds of cat food were distributed through the program aimed at providing short-term relief for area pet owners in need.
City Council approved the Center City Development Office’s (CCDO) Home Ownership Program for Employees (HOPE) in June 2012. There was $240,000 allocated from the Inner City Incentive Fund (ICIF) for the program. To date, 15 Chapter 380 loan agreements have been executed that provided down payment assistance within the center city to City of San Antonio employees, who are first-time homebuyers.
In keeping with the SA2020 vision for downtown, the CCDO also developed several place-making initiatives and the Downtown Strategic Framework Plan. As a community vision for the future of San Antonio, SA2020 contains a list of goals created by San Antonio citizens in 2010 as a collective vision for San Antonio in the year 2020. Some of the initiatives developed include Twilight on the Plaza, a bi-annual event activating public green space, such as Plaza de Valero and Travis Park. The CCDO facilitated the creation of a concept plan for Travis Park that identified short- and long-term improvements. During FY2013, CCDO created two Better Block Projects, temporarily implementing the recommendations of a concept plan developed for Alamo Plaza and one implementing the recommendations of the Retail Study and the Downtown Transportation Study along West Commerce Street.
San Antonio passed an ordinance requiring registration and inspection of boarding homes throughout San Antonio. The ordinance focuses on the safety and upkeep of buildings and property. The City Attorney's Office helped draft the ordinance and facilitated its implementation. Boarding home owners and operators are required to follow City fire, building, health and zoning requirements in order to receive and retain permits. San Antonio is the third Texas city to implement a boarding home ordinance. The City's Department of Human Services implemented a boarding homes relocation plan, along with a multi-agency partnership, to help ensure the safety of boarding home residents. As a result, the Department helped relocate 58 residents to safer housing.
The San Antonio Conservation Society awarded a $5,000 grant to the Office of the City Clerk to design and publish 2,000 field survey books ranging from 1880 to 2000. The books contain the original notes, measurements and drawings for the development and improvement of the streets and building developments throughout San Antonio. They illustrate how major thoroughfares were developed, how the landscape of the city changed as the population increased, and provide information on boundaries and Right of Ways.
San Antonio residents were able to apply for a passport on select Saturdays as the City Clerk's office held three Saturday Passport Days and assisted more than 350 individuals with passport applications. Revenue for the three days totaled more than $10,700. The City has generated nearly $800,000 from passport applications since beginning the service in 2010.
To keep residents informed about the many programs and services the City provides to enrich the community, the Communications and Public Affairs Department continues to produce a monthly electronic newsletter, Dot Gov. With more than 12,000 readers each month, Dot Gov is a valuable resource for residents seeking news from and about the City of San Antonio.
Additionally, the Communications and Public Affairs Department distributed 981 news releases and requests for coverage, secured 5,929 national media hits, and assisted with 2,519 inquiries from the news media. The department also coordinated and facilitated 7,915 open records requests.
In an effort to keep residents better informed, the Communications and Public Affairs Department launched its San Antonio 311 mobile app. The app allows the public to submit service requests through Apple and Android devices. The 311 Call Center another valuable resource for residents, achieved a 90 percent answer rate in fiscal year 2013 for the more than 1.1 million calls handled by the Call Center.
Managed by the Communications and Public Affairs Department, the City’s government access channel (TVSA) and public access channel (PATV) continue to serve as important sources for information and keeping residents connected with the City. The department taped, produced and aired more than 60 live broadcasts including council meetings, council ceremonials, special meetings and hearings on TVSA and webstreamed through the City’s website, www.sanantonio.gov. There were also more than 175 new shows on TVSA and 291 shows produced in the PATV studio. The department televised more than 500 City information bulletins from departments throughout the City and produced 65 council district and City department shows for TVSA.
During FY2013, construction began on the Communications and Public Affairs Department’s Public Education Government (PEG) Community Access Studio that will open in 2014 and provide a 23,000 sq. ft. television production state-of-the-art facility for the City and the community to produce high-quality shows.
In an effort to wipe away unsightly graffiti, the City's Development Services Department abated more than 4.1 million square feet of graffiti. Additionally, the department issued 2.284 new residential permits. Moreover, the department implemented new ordinances requiring annual boarding home registration, as well as developed a more efficient way of notifying property owners when their vacant structures require attention. Development Services also established a registration program to ensure one- and two-family, absentee-owned dwellings are properly maintained.
The City’s Health Department administered 28,824 doses of vaccine and immunized 13,399 residents. In partnership with the City's Dr. Manuel P. Berriozábal cafécollege, the Health Department provided 1,180 required Meningococcal immunizations for college–bound students. The average cost of this vaccine is $130 and the cost had been a barrier to college entry for many prospective students.
A collaboration among the Health Department, the Department of Communications and Public Affairs, the San Antonio Public Library and the Department of Human Services helped the City provide easy access to accurate and timely information regarding the Affordable Care Act. Computer stations were set up, City staff was trained on the Act, information was posted on many City websites and in public domains, space was provided for residents to meet one-on-one with ACA Navigators, and events were scheduled so citizens could get the information they needed to make informed decisions about affordable health coverage.
As part of the new Texas 1115 Medicaid Waiver program, the Health Department received final approval on six project proposals totaling up to $43 million in new funding through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program. Overall, this funding will help the City continue to make significant strides in improving residents’ quality of life and health status by focusing on prevention of adverse health outcomes. Projects will focus on expanding upon and developing key interventions in the following areas: diabetes prevention, children’s oral health services, HIV and Syphilis prevention, breastfeeding promotion, teen pregnancy prevention and neighborhood health promotion.
Patricia Blevins, laboratory response network coordinator, was selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to participate as a subject matter expert in the International Influenza Laboratory Assessment Program for Armenia. Blevins toured the Armenian National Laboratory and met with Armenian health officials to assess their influenza testing operations and recommendations were provided for improvement.
The Tuberculosis staff hosted a group of medical professionals and visitors from Eastern Europe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with Eastern European officials from the countries of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine to develop a study to enhance the contact investigation, identification and treatment of Tuberculosis -exposed individuals.
In order to expand the Student Ambassador Program, the Baptist Health Foundation awarded the Mayor's Fitness Council a grant of $100,000. The Program launched with 35 participants in grades 5 to 12 to represent the Mayor’s Fitness Council by promoting and encouraging healthy living at their school campus, at home, and in their communities. The Mayor’s Fitness Council also launched an eight-week FitCitySA Fitness Challenge to encourage healthy activity among residents. The goal was for participating adults to track at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly; and 60 minutes daily for youth.
As the Pilot Healthy Hub location, the Collins Garden neighborhood received $222,250 for infrastructure improvements generally designed to increase personal safety, and pedestrian and bicycle accessibility. This included numerous classes and events that were hosted within this Healthy Hub, including healthy cooking classes, a bicycle rally, bicycle safety training, and fitness and nutrition classes. North East Independent School District’s Right Bites Healthy Concession Program adopted the Health Department’s Guidelines for Healthy Concessions and developed Pre-K nutrition standards which were used with the Child Nutrition Vendor contract for City’s new Pre-K 4 SA Program.
More than 17,600 children living in poverty gained access to preventive dental services through the Oral Health Program’s community-based outreach efforts. Dental care valued at approximately $1.3 million was provided in more than 100 Head Start Centers and 91 economically-disadvantaged elementary schools throughout the City.
To curb teen pregnancy, the Health Department participated in Project WORTH and led the San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative. The Collaborative reached 4,270 teens with evidence-based programs and completed a community logic model to prevent teen pregnancy. Project WORTH also hosted the “National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy – Mapping our Future to 2020” event. In addition, Project WORTH conducted 16 community trainings on teen pregnancy prevention, building youth developmental assets, and worked with Generation Texas to host the 2013 Camp College event which more than 120 high school students attended.
Additionally, the Health Department formed an accreditation team to prepare for the journey towards national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the national accrediting organization for Tribal, state, local and territorial health departments. As a part of the process, the Department will undergo extensive review and alignment with the multiple PHAB standards and measures which are the framework for evaluating a health department’s processes, services, outcomes and progress toward specific goals and objectives.
Through its Senior Services program, the Department of Human Services provided 700,000 meals and 111,000 trips to more than 19,000 participants in FY2013. An additional $1.2 million was approved through the FY2014 budget process to expand senior services to an additional 400 seniors.
The City's Head Start program provided comprehensive early childhood education and support services that included health, nutrition, dental, and parent engagement to 7,469 low-income children, age three to five, and their families in San Antonio and Bexar County, and ensured 100 percent of children transitioning to kindergarten met established school readiness goals.
Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, also known as VITA, the Department of Human Services processed 33,701 tax returns. The program’s 633 IRS-certified volunteers helped return $60 million in tax refunds to San Antonio residents and saved taxpayers an estimated $10 million in tax preparation fees.
As part of the City’s continuous efforts to encourage economic growth and vitality in San Antonio’s city center, the Downtown Operations Department continued the Downtown Tuesday program featuring free parking every Tuesday evening after 5 p.m. at downtown City-operated parking garages, lots and meters. In addition, the City partnered with more than 75 businesses to offer special discounts and promotions on Tuesday evenings. The first year of the program saw a 48 percent increase in the number of cars over the previous year. More than 36,000 cars parked for free as part of the program. In its second year, the program has focused on new events and continued promotional efforts have generated continued increase in customer participation. The program earned the 2013 Downtown Best Award for the Best Public/Private Partnership – Event Series.
The Downtown Operations Department assisted with the coordination of the Rock 'n’ Roll Marathon. The 2012 marathon, held in November, had 4,852 registered runners for the full marathon; 18,854 registered runners for the half marathon; 908 registered runners for the relay run; 989 registered cyclists for the bike run; and 1,000 runners registered for the mini marathon.
Movies by Moonlight featured weekly movies and pre-movie entertainment in June and July in HemisFair Park. The event was self-maintained with sponsorships from RiverCenter Mall and Time Warner Cable. This grassroots event increased attendance by 27 percent from the previous year’s average weekly attendance.
The San Antonio Downtown Mobile Food Truck Program expanded to offer breakfast, lunch and evening serving times at downtown locations, including Main Plaza, Soledad Street, Travis Park, Savings Street and Madison Park, Monday through Friday. The program partnered with the San Antonio Food Truck Association to offer a variety of culinary options including Moroccan, Italian, Mexican foods, American burgers and barbeque, plus gourmet cupcakes and more.
Several key initiatives were implemented by the City’s Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) in FY2013, including historic landmark designations approved by City Council for 29 properties, including 22 properties identified in the Westside Cultural Resources Survey, an ongoing initiative to identify, document, and protect places of cultural, historical, and architectural significance on the Westside of San Antonio. An additional 35 westside properties are in the process of landmark designation and research is being conducted for the District 3 landmark initiative and San Antonio State Hospital Complex.
More than $30,000 for local hands-on preservation programs was raised during the inaugural Preservation PROMenade fundraising event implemented by OHP.
In honor of the grand re-opening of Cool Crest Miniature Golf Course, a famed landmark in San Antonio, OHP hosted a golf course event which many community members attended.
The OHP participated in several archaeology programs including: co-sponsoring the Texas Archaeology Day at Mission San Jose with more than 1,600 attendees; co-hosting Artifact Identification Day at Mission Concepcion with more than 200 attendees; co-sponsoring Archaeology Discovery Day at Brackenridge Park and the Botanical Garden; organized Southern Texas Archaeological Association meetings for more than 250 people; served as advisor to the San Antonio Conservation Society Farm and Ranch Committee; and served on boards of the Southern Texas Archaeological Association, the Texas Archaeological Society and the Texas Historical Foundation.
In May, the OHP implemented several activities as part of the City's local commemoration of National Historic Preservation Month. They included: “The State of Historic Preservation” event at Mission Concepcion; the “Go! Historic SA” series of guided running and walking tours through historic areas in San Antonio and in downtown to view the holiday lights along the River Walk; the “Amazing Preservation Race” event through San Antonio’s historic Westside called “Paseo por el Westside;” a partnership with the Center City Development Office and the Department for Culture and Creative Development on the first Center City Open House; and “Preservation Day SA: Join Us Out Here” in which volunteers provided repairs and maintenance for homeowners in the Highland Park neighborhood.
OHP continued the S.T.A.R. (Students Together Achieving Revitalization) program - a joint initiative with students from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Architecture and San Antonio College where students provide free maintenance and exterior repairs.
The City’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations negotiated a master interlocal agreement with Bexar County to provide services to one another, resulting in cost-savings and streamlined services in the areas of animal care, libraries, criminal investigations and vehicle fueling.
In an attempt to decrease customer time in court, the Office of Management and Budget restructured the Municipal Courts traffic ticketing process. The average wait time decreased by 30 percent and saved $1 million.
Court traffic citations became convenient to resolve from home during FY2013. The San Antonio Municipal Court implemented a new technology for residents by partnering with Tyler Technologies to utilize INSITE, a system used for public sector financial management. From their home computers, residents can access the court’s website to use INSITE to request defensive driving and deferred disposition (probation), and attain driving records using a credit card. The court has seen an increasingly high number of residents using this system since its implementation.
The Parks and Recreation Department created and implemented Fit Pass SA, a fun, new interactive scavenger hunt featuring fitness and wellness based activities. Fit Pass SA started in June 2013 and is scheduled to run until March 1, 2014. The program offers points to participants as they attend and participate in various healthy activities around the city offered by numerous organization/agencies. Once the program ends, participants will turn in their passports for the opportunity to win great prizes to help them continue their journey toward health and wellness.
As another fitness initiative, the Parks and Recreation Department now offers Fitness in the Park year around. During FY2013, the Department hosted 2,164 classes with 20,083 participants.
In a continuing effort to promote health and wellness amenities in City parks, new fitness equipment was installed at Collins Garden, Golden, Mission Library, Tobin Branch Library and the Memorial Branch Library. The Department also oversaw the installation of new playgrounds at Carver Library, Woodard, Stinson, Mattox, Mission Library, Pickwell, O.P. Schnabel, Milam, and Pearsall Parks. The $6.3 million Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center opened in September on the west side of Phil Hardberger Park. The 18,600 square feet, including just over 11,000 sq ft for educational facilities, connected porches, office space and restrooms. The building’s highlights also include a 7,580 sq ft Gathering Hall and connected porches. The facility was designed and constructed to LEED standards with features including solar panels, a rainwater collection system, LED lighting and a low-impact design. It is also the trailhead to a new 1.84 mile Savanna Loop Trail.
The Parks and Recreation Department piloted a new Trail Steward program in Spring 2013 designed to increase visibility on the linear creekway system. The stewards focus on education and outreach on the mixed use trails while also providing assistance to patrons who may be lost or in need of first aid. The program provides an added sense of security for trail users and will be expanded in fiscal year 2014.
Sixty-one locations with more than 6,000 participants offered the Summer Youth Program. A variety of structured, supervised programs were offered, including art, science, reading, and wellness enrichment activities. A new math enrichment component was also offered. Additional activities included talent shows, Pals Baseball League, and presentations from organizations such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, San Antonio Talons, VIA Metropolitan Transit and many others.
More than 6,978 youth participated in the Parks and Recreation Department’s Youth Athletics Program. Participation in youth athletics in 2013 was up six percent from the previous year. Sports Leagues included volleyball, basketball, soccer, flag football, dodge ball, baseball, t-ball, kickball, as well as special youth athletic events. Special events included the NFL Punt, Pass, & Kick, the Aquafina Pitch, Hit, & Run, and the Hershey Track & Field meet.
The San Fernando Boxing Club (SFBC) captured numerous honors during FY2013, including four South Texas Junior Olympic Champions, eight Golden Gloves Regional Champions, three State Golden Gloves champions, three Golden Gloves National Finalists, five LBC State Champions, one USA Championship National Finalist, four Champions Ringside World Championships and one Pals National Finalist. Jose Hernandez received The John Gentile Memorial Award for the Outstanding Boxer of the Regional Golden Gloves Tournament. SFBC also won the Team Championship in the Open and Novice Divisions of the Regional Gold Gloves tournament.
Nearly 41,500 residents played tennis at the McFarlin Tennis Center last year. The facility hosted 20 major Junior and Adult State Level Tournaments, two major Junior National Events, eight high school invitational tournaments, three high school district tournaments, HEB Corporate League, Wounded Warriors Tennis Program and the 4-A Regional School Tournament. It also hosted the Senior Games of Texas, numerous Special Olympic events and Wheelchair/Adapted Tennis.
The City’s annual July 4th celebration, a free event sponsored by the San Antonio Parks Foundation in cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department, was held at Woodlawn Lake Park and featured games, food, musical entertainment and a fireworks display.
Nearly 120,000 guests visited the San Antonio Botanical Garden in FY2013, recording the largest annual attendance on record in 33 years. Volunteer hours also surpassed 32,000.
In order to enhance the quality of life for San Antonio residents, the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) initiated numerous programs and projects, including: the Owner-Occupied Rehab Program in which 14 owner-occupied housing units were rehabilitated at a cost of $1,107,086; the Homeownership Incentive Program where 46 first-time homebuyers received loan assistance to help with the purchase of a new home in targeted areas in the city and included homebuyer classes with 186 graduates; and the Housing Portal, a website that connects residents and other stakeholders with housing resources from the local, state and national level, and includes an inventory of property available for sale.
During fiscal year 2013, the Grants Monitoring and Administration Division of DPCD managed the expenditure of more than $28 million in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME, Section 108 and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds and satisfied the Federal CDBG Program expenditure requirement. Following City Council approval, DPCD’s GMA Division also submitted the Annual Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for $18.3 million in new funding for fiscal year 2014.
The Department of Public Works established three Railroad Quiet Zones in fiscal year 2013. Quiet Zones are rail segments where train horns are not routinely sounded at crossings, providing less noise pollution and enhancing the quality of life. Since 2008, 10 Quiet Zones and 60 railroad crossings have been established citywide.
In 2013, the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) celebrated its 110th birthday with a system-wide commemoration in each of the 26 Library locations and with the implementation of various innovative programs and initiatives to continue enriching the lives of San Antonians.
The SAPL opened Connect, a new 12,800 square foot technology space at the Central Library, to help bridge the digital divide in the community by providing free, faster Wi-Fi; reducing wait time for public computers with 114 desktop computers, 15 laptops and 20 Google Nexus tablets available for checkout; introducing a ‘technology test drive’ component with iPads and a variety of tablets that support digital literacy and showcase the Library’s digital collection of 36,000 items available for download and checkout; and providing easier access to training opportunities. Funding for the project also allowed for upgrades to the teen area that included 18 new iMac computers and new furniture.
As another way to continue strengthening its digital collections, SAPL added BookFlix and TrueFlix to support increased emphasis on expository reading. Unlike eBooks, these two online literacy resources allow multiple users at once and serve as more useful tools for collaborative reading in and out of school.
The San Antonio Public Library also introduced Express Collections to ten libraries, a new service delivery mechanism developed to increase the availability of popular titles and decrease wait times for those popular titles.
In addition, the SAPL also developed and implemented a comprehensive campaign to promote its tutoring service, which resulted in an increase in usage of the Library’s free, live, online tutoring program for students in elementary school to college by 87 percent.
The All-America City initiative at the SAPL has resulted in the successful expansion of children's summer learning experience. During FY2013, the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club was strengthened through increased partnerships with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, SA Youth, and the YMCA. Compared to the previous year, children participation increased by 14 percent, completion rate increased by 24 percent, teen participation rose by 30 percent and the completion rate was 50 percent.
SAPL was selected as one of two libraries nationwide for the 2013 News Know-How media literacy program for teens. Administered by the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF), and funded by the Open Society Foundations, the program helped 12 teens learn to analyze news coverage and decipher fact from fiction.
City's Animal Care Services saw live release rate increase
ACS partnered with the Animal Defense League for the construction of a new facility
Better Block Project participants
Boarding Homes logo
San Antonio 311 mobile app
Government access channels TVSA and PATV logos
Enroll SA logo
Fit City SA Fitness Challenge logo
Oral Health Program
Head Start Program participants
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance logo
Downtown Tuesday logo
Downtown Mobile Food Trucks
OHP's Amazing Preservation Race
S.T.A.R. Program participants
Fitness in the Park participants
Phil Hardberger Park
Urban Ecology Center
San Fernando Boxing Club
San Antonio Botanical Garden
Connect, a new 12,800 square foot technology space
The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club