City of San Antonio’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Makes Investments in Public Health, Housing and Workforce Development
SAN ANTONIO (September 17, 2020) – Today, the City Council unanimously adopted the $2.9 billion Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which is $4.4 million lower than last year’s budget, stays well below the statutory cap on property taxes and continues to invest resources in the four pillars of the Recovery & Resilience Plan, which includes keeping people in their homes, training people to secure jobs that are available today, supporting small businesses and improving digital connectivity for residents.
“The goal of the fiscal year 2021 budget is to maintain the city services that our residents expect, while also helping them recover from the devastating economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “We’ve been able to make meaningful investments in the services our community asked for, including public health, housing and human services, such as resources for mental health and support for those experiencing homelessness.”
The FY 2021 Adopted Budget invests $346 million in the community to vital services including health, housing, education and human services; this is in addition to the $291 million from federal grants targeted to assist the City with the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, as part of the continued response to COVID-19, many departments, such as Metro Health, Fire, Neighborhood & Housing Services, Economic Development and Human Services, have changed their focus to address the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and help San Antonio recover from its effects.
$45.8 million is allocated to Metro Health, including $20.3 million in the General Fund, which is a 29.6 percent increase compared to the FY 2020 Adopted Budget, the largest proportional increase of any department. The Adopted Budget creates a new Violence Prevention Division in Metro Health with a total investment of $8.9 million, including $1.3 million in new funds, and the transfer of 20 Crisis Response Team employees from the San Antonio Police Department to Metro Health.
The adopted budget also includes $1 million to expand the Healthy Neighborhood Program and to create a new Community Health Connector Partnership and augment other public health programs. The adopted budget also adds $120,000 to add 12 healthy corner stores in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7, while maintaining support for the eight stores in District 3. This program provides healthy food options to areas that lack access to grocery stores.
The FY 2021 Adopted Budget allocates $27.5 million for affordable housing initiatives. This allocation also includes $300,000 for new legal kiosks at key city locations to assist at-risk populations.
The adopted budget includes $486.5 million for the San Antonio Police Department, an increase of 1.7%. Nearly all of the increase is contractually-obligated (by the collective bargaining agreement with the police union) or state law-required. The proposed budget reallocates $1.6 million from the police budget to accept a federal COPS grant to hire 25 new officers focused on preventing domestic violence and reduces overtime for police officers by $3.4 million.
The FY 2021 Adopted Budget also introduces a deliberate process to address foundational issues within the police department, review police services and engage the entire community on expectations. The San Antonio Police Department responds to more than 2.1 million calls for service per year, some of which may be more appropriately handled by other departments and service providers. The process will review foundational issues, such as accountability and discipline of officers, determine the community’s expectations of the police department, incorporate community input and identify funding and alternative response mechanisms. A draft plan will be presented to the City Council by April 2021. Negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the San Antonio Police Officers Association will begin in the spring of 2021.
Support for Residents Experiencing Food Insecurity
The budget also invests $1 million in the San Antonio Food Bank’s Culinary Center. The project will provide more prepared meals for families experiencing food insecurity. The center will also increase Culinary Training program class size, provide space for on-site nutrition education classes and allow the San Antonio Food Bank to be more prepared in the event of a natural disaster or future pandemic.
The General Fund, the largest operating fund in the proposed budget, is $1.28 billion, which is a 0.7 percent increase over FY 2020. The increase is primarily due to compensation increases from the collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire unions. The Adopted Budget includes new and existing investments in community service priorities. These investments include:
- Small business support: additional $500,000 that partially reinstates a City fee waiver program and an establishes a new entrepreneurship program
- Violence Prevention: a new division in Metro Health with a total investment of $8.9 million, including $1.3 million in new funds and the transfer of 20 Crisis Response Team workers from SAPD to Metro Health
- Affordable Housing: $27.5 million to assist residents at risk of displacement and facilitate the development of affordable housing
- Homelessness and Mental Health: $36 million investment, representing a $1 million more than FY 2021. $560,000 will allow the City to expand the Homeless Outreach Team created through the recovery and resiliency plan resulting in 11 district outreach Teams (one per district and downtown). $500,000 is added for an alternative mental health response option
- Healthy Food Access: $120,000 to add 12 healthy corner stores in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7, while maintaining support for the 8 stores in District 3
- Education: $1.1 million to AlamoPROMISE to provide college scholarships to Alamo Colleges students
- Human Services and Workforce Development: $24.3 million for delegate agencies providing critical services to San Antonio residents
The General Fund also adapts to a new fiscal reality and the impacts of COVID-19 by including $87 million in budget cuts over two years ($38 million in FY 2021 and $49 million in FY 2022) due to revenue reductions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some the of the reductions include:
- Reduction of $14 million through City hiring freeze for most vacant positions, no pay increases for City employees, and other compensation adjustments
- Suspension of economic development incentives saving $5.5 million
- $3.4 million in reductions to the Police Department overtime budget and suspension of Police Cadet Hiring Bonus program ($739,500)
City Budget- Your Input Is Important
City of San Antonio invites residents to participate in virtual FY 2022 budget telephone town hall meetings
The City of San Antonio will host two virtual telephone town hall meetings to inform the public about the Fiscal Year 2022 budget development process, answer public questions and gather input. The virtual meetings will include telephone town hall features, which allow residents to register in advance and receive a call when it’s time to join the event. City Manager Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez and Budget Director Scott Huizenga will lead the public meeting.
The meetings will be held Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. Residents can register here to participate at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FY2022telephonemtg. Registration closes three hours prior to each event.
“Telephone town hall meetings are a convenient way to hear directly from our residents, from the comfort of their homes. Each of our residents leads a busy life, whether that’s tending to their families, commuting to and from work, balancing schoolwork, or other priorities. These telephone town hall events allow the public to participate wherever they are,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “The annual budget process sets the framework for our work in the community and our strategic goals.”
The City also opened a brief budget survey, which will remain open through June 21, 2021. The survey gives residents the opportunity to weigh in on their service priorities, as well as share their thoughts on restoring programming from budget cuts made in FY 2020 and FY 2021. City residents can take the survey on www.saspeakup.com or by texting SASpeakUp to 55000 to take the survey on their mobile devices.
More information about the telephone town hall meetings and survey are available at www.saspeakup.com.
City, partner agencies prepared to provide shelter to homeless during cold night
SAN ANTONIO (February 10, 2021) – The City of San Antonio and its partner agencies are prepared to provide access to shelter and services to those experiencing unsheltered homelessness as the National Weather Service expects much colder conditions across the region beginning tonight and into the upcoming weekend, as an arctic airmass moves south into Texas.
There are chances for showers and even thunderstorms on Thursday as an upper-level disturbance moves over the region. Best chances for wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow is likely to be late Sunday into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
“The City’s Department of Human Services and its partner agencies in homeless services assist individuals facing homelessness by providing outreach, developing a relationship, and offering services daily,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “In critical situations like severe weather, the City and our partners work even harder to reach those who are unsheltered and direct them to a safe and warm shelter.”
Haven for Hope is open for all individuals experiencing homelessness. All clients sleep indoors and are given cold-weather clothing, including warm jackets.
New clients should present to Haven for Hope’s Intake (currently operating out of the Donation Center at 1 Haven for Hope Way) between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Households with children are welcome at Haven for Hope any time of the day or evening, 24/7.
After hours and on weekends, individualized services are available, to include cold-weather sleeping accommodations and cold-weather kits (sleeping bags, hand warmers, snacks and hygiene products). With the imminent cold weather, after hours sleeping will be expanded.
In addition, the Salvation Army Dave Coy Men’s Shelter provides overnight shelter at 226 Nolan St. Nightly enrollment begins at 3 p.m. daily through 8 p.m. Individuals will have access to restroom and shower facilities, hygiene products, a bed with clean linens and meals. Individuals must be 18 years or older and provide a picture ID at the time of enrollment.
The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH), in partnership with the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, organized a collection drive for cold weather materials, including jackets, blankets, socks, and more. These items are available for street outreach workers and those in need at the San Fernando Homeless Resource Hub located at 319 W. Travis St. Community members wishing to donate new cold weather gear can drop off donations at the San Fernando Homeless Resource Hub from Monday to Friday between 1 and 4 p.m.
The City of San Antonio Department of Human Services’ Homeless Division, Haven for Hope’s Outreach staff, and other street outreach providers, offer assistance that includes encouraging clients to access shelter services, coordinating transportation to shelter intake, and distributing cold-weather gear such as warm jackets and sleeping bags.
Blazing Trails & Breaking Glass Ceilings
Another HBCU Grad & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated member advances up the ranks.
Rosalind (Roz) Brewer, Board of Directors at Amazon and the current Chief Operating Officer for Starbucks will be leaving her position at the end of February to become the new CEO for Walgreens (Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.). Brewer is set to begin her new role in March. She will be the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company at this time.
Before becoming COO at Starbucks in 2017, Brewer’s accomplishments include her 22-year career at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, being the first Black and first woman to lead a Walmart business unit, she was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, and she previously served on the boards of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Molson Coors Beverages Co. Brewer’s work has focused on increasing minority representation in the workforce especially in leadership, expanding diversity, and growing companies and making them more competitive. In 2013, Brewer was named one the World’s Most Powerful Women by Forbes
Brewer is a 1984 graduate of Spelman College and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.