CONTACT: Matteo Treviño, 210-323-2835
SAN ANTONIO (August 6, 2020) — Councilwoman Sandoval issued the following statements following discussion of the proposed FY 2021 City Budget at the City Council Meeting:
“This year’s budget process is different from any other. A record number of residents —over 22,000— participated in the SA Speak Up budget survey; these residents told us they prioritized Public Health services above all other City services. This process is also different this year because it is the first time we see such a unified call to reduce the budget of a single department: police.
I’m glad to see the City Manager’s proposed plan to reevaluate SAPD’s budget and programs and to develop a new model for providing public safety and community support. It’s great to see the transfer of data analysis and crisis response functions to other departments. Despite those changes, the proposed police budget is still $8.1M greater than last year, while the entire general fund only grew by almost $6 M. At the very least, we need to consider expanding the current hiring freeze to include SAPD. It only makes fiscal sense to hold off on hiring new officers while the department’s budget is being evaluated.
Our experience with this pandemic as well as the input from our community obligates us to shift more funding from police to underinvested public health and social services.
To that end, I am glad to see the expansion of the Stand Up SA violence prevention program to the Westside of San Antonio and the plan to turn these critical part time staff into full time staff.
As the Mayor noted today, I’ve called for increased investment in public health since taking office. I’m glad to see the increase in the Metro Health budget this year. The greater our investment in public health, the lesser the financial and health burden on our population, and the longer our residents will live.
However, this must be a first step toward continued investment in public health. Our local needs must drive our local health budget. We cannot solely depend on grants to determine our health future. To that end, I want the council to consider adopting a budget floor for Metro Health that ensures it can adequately serve our population.
Thank you to the members of the public who participated in public comment today and provided thoughtful feedback.”