2021 Budget Adopted
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)
Bexar County Couple Offers Counseling & Mentorship Program
Community-based counseling is happening at Ken-Lyn Consultants and Associates, a vision Dr. Kenneth Brown and Dr. Lynda Brown had years ago. The couple is now considered a family counselor and life coach duo.
Ken-Lyn has been serving Bexar County since 2017 and has grown almost immediately from serving 3-5 clients weekly to serving 50-70 globally. One of their greatest accomplishments is their continuous “5-Star” ratings. Amazingly, of the thousands of clients that have chosen to write a review, they all have shared the same sentiment.
Dr. Lynda Brown is a product of the East Side, where her father, Dr. Walter Duncan, served as one of the leading dentists to Black clients. Her mom, Dr. Joan Duncan, spent 40 years as an educator and professor. Dr. Kenneth Brown’s mom was an office manager, church leader, and pianist in Southern Maryland.
The Brown’s services have taken them to faraway places such as Australia, Dubai, Italy, Hawaii, and Alaska. They travel to perform workshops and officiate weddings all over the country. The Brown’s business partner, Tiana Hill, is an Air Force veteran like Dr. Kenneth Brown. A University of Texas at San Antonio graduate, Hill develops all website and software programming, mentors the youth, and is also a parent in the program. Ken-Lyn’s associates and partners are specialists in their fields, such as nurse practitioners, military human resources, special education professionals, attorneys, doctors, pharmacists, information technology specialists, movers, mechanics, realtors, credit recovery, insurance brokers, and many more.
Ken-Lyn’s vast array of services is “everything family.” Their youngest client is four years old, and their oldest is 86. They have assisted over 110 students to get into four-year universities, helping them earn over $5.2 million in scholarships. Their clientele is diverse, from local families simply trying to keep their child in school to West Coast entertainers, East Coast politicians, doctors, lawyers, police officers, active military and veterans. They also serve as educational advocates during 504/IEP meetings from the school conference room to the Texas Education Agency and the Office of Civil Rights as needed.
Ken-Lyn Consultants and Associates has been where undergraduate psychology students come to “cut their teeth” and learn how to run a practice and market their services. As of spring 2023, 80% of their undergraduate interns have come from UTSA. Interns serve in the tradition of “camp counselors” as they aid students within the Ken-Lyn mentorship program.
They say, “We monitor grades. We aid them with everything from hygiene, makeup application, grooming, and college prep to cleaning and organizing backpacks. We help our mentees to discover themselves, despite the possible odds and misunderstandings they may face daily.”
This spring, Ken-Lyn has a busy community schedule while serving clients daily:
- Their office has recently expanded, and on March 23 at 6:30 pm, they will host a brief “Business Blessing Ceremony.” Dr. Otis Mitchell, pastor of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, will officiate.
- On Thursday, March 30, the six-week “12 Steps Toward Communicating Better” workshop will conclude at the Windmill Ice House at 2769 Nacogdoches Rd, featuring artist Elizabeth Holmes and the Ken-Lyn Communicators Band.
- Their mentorship program will host female and minority pilots at the Boerne Stage Field, 100 Boerne Stage Airfield, on Sunday, March 26 at 5 pm.
- Other mentorship guest speakers this semester will include professionals in tech fields, professors, and adults who have turned their lives around for themselves and their families.
- Every semester, students in their program will tour at least two colleges. This semester, they will visit Our Lady of the Lake University and Texas A&M University at College Station.
To learn more about Ken-Lyn’s services, visit (KenLynConsultants.com) or call 210-761-4345.
Black Life Texas
The Black Fund Awards Show in Austin
Austin Community Foundation, in partnership with leaders of The Black Fund, recently announced tickets are on sale for The Black Fund Awards Show, presented by Netspend, on Feb. 27 from 6 pm to 9 pm at The Paramount Theatre at 713 Congress Ave. in Austin. Members of the community are invited to celebrate 21 Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits selected to receive $355,000 from The Black Fund, a signature partnership of Austin Community Foundation and Black Central Texans.
The Black Fund Awards Show will feature appearances by Roland Martin, Taméca Jones, Alesia Lani, Ballet Afrique, Cha’ keeta Banita, and Tje Austin. General admission and VIP tickets are now on sale from $25 to $100 at austincf.org/BlackFundAwards.
The Black Fund is a collective giving network launched in 2022 that aims to unleash the power of Black-led organizations and uplift solutions to benefit the Black community in Central Texas. Driven by data and community voice, The Black Fund strives for an equitable, just society that nurtures the growth, economic security, and wellness of Black people. The Black Fund is a key strategy in the Foundation’s effort to close the opportunity gap in Central Texas. Notable contributors and artists will walk the red carpet from 6-7 p.m.
The unrestricted, general operating grants will be distributed to the following nonprofits:
- African American Leadership Institute (AALI)
- Allure Alliance
- Austin Black Physicians Association
- Austin Urban Technology Movement
- Black Makers Market
- Black Mamas ATX
- Black Mamas Village Austin
- Black Trans Leadership of Austin
- Capitol View Arts
- Changing Expectations
- Excellence and Advancement Foundation
- Family Preservation Leadership Council
- Grassroots Leadership
- Maternal Health Equity Collaborative
- Roslyn’s Novel
- The Man in Me
- Plus, five grassroots organizations to be announced on Feb. 27.
Increasing Financial Literacy is Critical in Black Wealth
The nation’s 44 million African-Americans account for 13% of the U.S. population and significantly impact the economy, with $1.2 trillion in purchases annually. But the financial well-being of African-Americans lags behind the U.S. population and whites in particular.
The reason for these gaps is increased financial literacy. According to the TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, there is a strong link between financial literacy and financial wellness among African-Americans. The report examines the current state of financial literacy and financial wellness among African-American adults.
The P-Fin Index measures eight key areas of personal finance knowledge: earning, consuming, saving, investing, borrowing and managing debt, insuring, comprehending risk and uncertainty, and go-to information sources.
Personal finance knowledge among African-American adults lags behind that of whites. On average, African-Americans answered 38% of the index questions correctly, with only 28% answering over one-half of the index questions correctly. The comparable figures among whites were 55% and 62%, respectively.
Financial literacy varies across demographic groups within the Black population. The observed patterns are consistent with variations identified in the U.S. population—financial literacy is greater among men, older individuals, more formal education, and higher incomes.
Insurance is the area where personal finance knowledge is lowest among African-Americans. Other areas where knowledge lags are in comprehending risk, investing, and identifying go-to information sources.
Borrowing and debt management is the area of highest personal finance knowledge among Black Americans.
There is a strong link between financial literacy and financial wellness among African-Americans. Those who are more financially literate are more likely to plan and save for retirement, have non-retirement savings, and to manage their debt better; they are also less likely to be financially fragile.
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