CONTACT: Landry Stafford,
Office: (210) 207-7026 Cell: (281) 669-7022,
SAN ANTONIO (September 12, 2019) – Today, City Council voted unanimously to approve the proposed FY 2020 budget. The following statement was released in response to today’s vote:
“This year’s budget reflects the hard work of City staff and fellow councilmembers in ensuring that our neighbors’ needs are being met. Many thanks go to City Manager Erik Walsh, Maria Villagomez and Justina Tate and to all of the organizations and community members who took the time to express their budget priorities.
The FY 2020 budget provides $820.3 million to Public Safety, including 10 new SAFFE Officers and 6 new Crisis Response Team Sergeants. As a Council, we have committed $110M to street improvements, with District 10 receiving $13.7 million of that funding. We are also funding a City Homestead Tax Exemption for all homeowners for the first time in San Antonio’s history and directly putting money back in the pockets of our neighbors.
With that said, I do have some major concerns with the FY 2020 budget. For instance, we should not increase the revenue we receive from SAWS. The City has received 2.7% of SAWS revenue since 1992 to support our General Fund. This fiscal year, we are making SAWS provide us with 4% of their revenues to the tune of $9.9 million. This will likely lead to a SAWS rate increase in the future. There are not enough efficiencies in this budget. The budget grew by $91 million since last year and almost all City departments increased their spending. I am also opposed to using Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funding to support affordable housing projects. Tax exempt affordable housing does not contribute back into the TIRZ as that funding is based on property tax increases. Those funds should only be used for projects that will continue to contribute back to the Zone.
Passing a balanced budget is one of the most critical tasks of the City Council. The budget document is the most important contract we make with our neighbors in San Antonio each fiscal year. I fully realize that there is perceived good and bad in every budget. While it is unfortunate that we do not vote on each line item individually, I support the budget as a whole. Compromising on certain items and supporting the overall budget despite its flaws is oftentimes the best path forward. It is important for everyone’s position to be heard and considered, as we are all representing the best interests of our city and our neighbors.
Property taxes, public safety, infrastructure, and public facilities have always been at the top of the list for San Antonians; these concerns are often stressed by our neighbors here in District 10 and remain the focus of my attention. The City’s budget should be focused on providing more funding for those core services.”