Earlier this week, the Chamber’s Public Policy Council welcomed City Manager Erik Walsh to present the City of San Antonio’s Proposed FY 2020 Budget, his first budget since being appointed City Manager in March. The proposed FY20 budget totals $2.9 billion, a 3.1% increase over the FY19 budget.
The beginning of this year’s budget cycle was filled with optimism because of the passage of SB2, a bill that lowers the rollback rate, and SB 1152, which cuts the amount of right-of-way-fees telecommunication companies will pay. Both bills were projected to have a negative impact on the city’s revenue. It is estimated that SB 1152 will cost the City of San Antonio $7.5 million in revenue. Despite the financial challenges, the budget is balanced with no cuts to city services.
Walsh applauded the city for its sound fiscal management, which has been vital to maintaining the city’s strong bond ratings from all three major agencies. He believes the city maintained its ratings this year because the Mayor and City Council were proactive in dealing with the financial challenges.
Earlier this year, the Mayor and City Council had a budget goal setting session where they identified five priorities for the budget. The five priorities for the FY20 budget include:
- Domestic violence,
- Affordable housing, and
- Property tax relief.
In the budget, $1 million is dedicated to family violence, $110 million for street maintenance, $479 million for police, $34.4 million for affordable housing, and $60.9 million in property tax relief.
Due the loss of $7.5 million in revenue because of SB 1162, City Manager Erik Walsh is proposing the city increase the amount of gross revenue taken from San Antonio Water System (SAWS). When SAWS was formed in 1992, an ordinance was created that allowed the city to collect up to 5% or gross revenues from SAWS. Since the ordinance was adopted, the city has only taken 2.7% each year. Walsh is proposing, for the first time ever, that the city increase the amount to 4% to help cover the anticipated revenue loss.
Other key components of the budget included increasing the number of police officers patrolling several entertainment districts at night and the creation of a customer experience team at the airport, given the significant increase in the number of passengers.
The budget was presented to City Council yesterday morning and will be set for adoption at A Session on Thursday, September 12. Until then, the City of San Antonio will conduct extensive community outreach to see how residents feel about the proposed FY20 budget. For more information on community days and official timeline adoption, check out City of San Antonio’s website.