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San Antonio Leads Effort to Protect Military Bases in Texas

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San Antonio once again has showed its commitment to being Military City, USA, as Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala (USMC Retired), director of the city’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, stepped into his role as the president of Texas Mayors of Military Communities.

Ayala was designated by Mayor Ron Nirenberg to serve on the advocacy group on behalf of San Antonio, and later elected president by members of Texas Mayors of Military Communities (TMMC).

“This appointment is evidence of the great partnership and support the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs provides under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Ayala to not only San Antonio, but to Texas as well,” Mayor Nirenberg said. “As Military City, USA, we are proud to join forces with other Texas cities to protect our military bases.”

TMMC is a nonprofit consisting of 13 cities, including Abilene, Austin, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Killeen, Kingsville, San Angelo, San Antonio, Texarkana and Wichita Falls. The group was formed to advocate at the State Capitol for policies and funding that benefit Texas bases. The 15 bases in Texas represent approximately $101 billion per year in annual economic impact for Texas, while employing several hundred thousand men and women in both military and civilian roles.

“As the largest employer in the region, the military is a priority for the city of San Antonio,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said. “In addition to investing more than $90 million in infrastructure since 2009 to support our bases and developing regulations that ensure compatible land use, we see it as our responsibility to advocate for the military when they cannot do so themselves.”

One priority for TMMC has been grant money for the Defense Economic Assistance and Adjustment Grants (DEAAG) program. In each of the past three years, the San Antonio area has successfully applied for DEAAG grants totaling nearly $15 million. Funds are used to connect San Antonio’s installations to the San Antonio Water System, acquire private property in the Accident Protect Zones adjacent to Randolph Air Force Base and construct a high-tech building at Port San Antonio to house cybersecurity operations.

“Military missions are not only a part of the culture and history of Texas communities, but are also integral to state and local economies,” Ayala said. “We are committed to uniting military communities to preserve and promote the military installations in Texas. I’m honored to serve in this position and further our efforts to protect Texas military bases.”

The group has been successful in securing more than $50 million in state grant funding that has been leveraged by local governments throughout Texas to enhance the military value and missions of its bases.

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Councilman Shaw Resigns from City Council

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SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 13, 2018) —
Effective January 7, 2019, Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw is resigning from his position on City Council as he has accepted an offer to become associate judge of the 436th Judicial District Court.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of District 2 and collaborate with the staff at the City of San Antonio,” said Councilman Shaw. “I am grateful for this opportunity to work with the youth in San Antonio who have found their way into the criminal justice system. I want to make clear to the people in District 2 that there will be no interruption in services and council staff will continue to address all constituent concerns.”

The City will release the details for filling the District 2 vacancy in the coming days.

 

View resignation letter

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The Discussion w The Writer Fred Blacks in the Media: Have We Made Good Progress?

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Get Emergency Utility Bill Help Now Through Your Smartphone

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San Antonio’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the availability of a new, Emergency Utility Bill Assistance online application, which is at www.sanantonio.gov/DHSutility.

The online application simplifies the previous paper-based process by eliminating the need for residents to print and photocopy supporting documentation (photo ID, proof of income, CPS Energy or SAWS bill), and mail documents or visit the Willie Velasquez Center to obtain assistance. Now, residents can complete the application online and upload required documents using their smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera.

“We have found that most of our clients today have a smartphone, even if they don’t have a computer,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said. “We wanted to make it easy for residents to use that phone to apply for the assistance they need.”

The new online application is the culmination of the inaugural CivTechSA residency program, collaboration between the City’s Office of Innovation and Geekdom. CivTechSA coordinated a 16-week residency in which city departments pitched their challenges to be solved by local technology firms. Kinetech Cloud, a Geekdom-based custom software-as-a-service provider, was one of two businesses selected for the CivTechSA residency.

The emergency utility assistance program helps the city’s most vulnerable residents during times of need to avoid power and water service shut-offs whenever possible. The average annual income of applicants for assistance is approximately $14,000. The program processes over 10,000 applications annually, administering approximately $2.4 million in CPS Energy bill assistance and $400,000 in San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) credits. Human Services works closely with CPS Energy and SAWS to apply the assistance credits to the bills of eligible residents in need.

“The new online application system allows our staff to provide real-time updates to clients. When a family faces utility disconnection, time is of the essence. This application allows for faster communication with clients, to help complete their application and keep utilities connected,” Woosley said.

Additional benefits of the application include a self-service portal where applicants can check the status of their application, view the average processing time for the past thirty days, and receive automated notifications each time the status of their application changes.

“Virtually every industry is being impacted by technology and local government is no different,” said Michael Guido, CEO of Kinetech. “The majority of population growth over the next fifty years will occur in urban areas. Cities must invest in infrastructure and digital services to address this growth in a sustainable way.”

The DHS solution aligns with San Antonio’s Smart City Initiative – to have San Antonio be connected, inclusive, and resilient. Interested citizens can find out more at www.sanantonio.gov/humanservices/FinanceEmergency.

 

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