The City of San Antonio plans to invest to approximately $21 million into the community. Safe affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization are some of the top priorities of the city.
The City of San Antonio hosted one of the On Your Block Community days at Texas A&M University-San Antonio on Aug. 30, where the 2019 fiscal year budget was addressed. In opening remarks, Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran addressed concerns that parts of the San Antonio community are underdeveloped.
The meeting focused on funding departments within the city as well as dealing with the public concern for affordable housing, parks, libraries, animal care services, filling police vacancies and streets.
City manager Sheryl Sculley led the meeting on the budget and distribution of funds. 2.8 billion dollars will be invested in the city. 44% of the budget will be towards general funding, 32% restricted funds and 24% to the capital budget. $9,000 will be put towards spay and neuter services. Over $1 million will be invested each in park maintenance and libraries.
$17.1 million in funding will be put towards affordable housing. The funding is broken into three categories with $750,000 going to housing trust, $7.5 Million in the general fund and $8.9 million towards Federal Grants.
San Antonio has over 4,121 centerline miles of roadways. Citizens made their voice heard when it came to damaged roads and lack of sidewalks.
In the past, the budget for maintenance was 30 million, but now the city is planning to invest as much as 100 million in the city’s streets and sidewalks and 10 million into transportation. The rest of the budget is divided up between all the departments within the city based on priority.
After the budget portion of the meeting, Sculley took questions from attendees.
One of the attendees Diana Urietas has been searching for a job. Do to an injury Urietas was laid off and hasn’t been able to find work since then. Urietas has been searching for a job and was struggling to take care of her family and pay her taxes. Urietas claims that her taxes have gone up despite the lack of development. Urietas claims that she went to apply at a Holiday Inn but had to refuse when they would only pay her $4.50 an hour to clean rooms.
“That’s not right. I want to be able to pay my own taxes. I don’t get no assistance from nobody,” Urietas said.
“We will work with you and aid you with the application process through our human services,” Sculley said.
Ginger Treanor laid off from insurance became a volunteer for project Hope in January. Project Hope aids homeless people obtain important documentation that makes them eligible to work.
“It was really a blessing, I meet the hope officers and I wrote to Chief McManus when I saw him on tv talking about the ope team. I asked if civilians could go out with the officers to meet the homeless,” Treanor said.
Treanor was hoping to get an increase in funding from $5,000 to $10,000 to help them get identification.
Project Hope also hopes for a better transportation option for the homeless. They currently have a van that holds 12 people at full capacity however they are facing the demand of up to 40 people a day in need of transportation to service offices to obtain identification.
“Homelessness is a complicated issue,” Sculley said . “We are looking for ways to help people with identification.”
San Antonio Police Chief McManus weighed in on the issue.
“It’s gratifying to know that the people you see on the street when the hope team has gotten them Id’s you don’t see them anymore. They’ve gotten housing they’ve gotten jobs. That’s all they needed and the hope team helped them do that,” McManus said .
“We’ll make a note of your request,” Sculley said. “We have had a lot of suggestions over the weeks and we will discuss it with the council on Wednesday, Sept. 5th.”