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SAN ANTONIO (September 16, 2021) – After months of budget discussions the San Antonio City Council has adopted and finalized the $3.1 billion dollar budget for Fiscal Year 2022. The budget process began on June 25th – twenty days after the runoff election that confirmed Councilwoman Teri Castillo's entry into public service at City Hall.
The new budget addresses many concerns raised throughout the multiple community town halls held throughout District 5. Of note, the 2022 Budget invests $110 million for streets, over $30 million in affordable housing, $81 million in Public Health, over $21 million for sidewalks, $5.7 million in streetlights, the creation of an illegal dumping collection crew, a first-of-its-kind case management team for Animal Care Services to assist residents with available resources, an increase of 311 call takers, the elimination of overdue library fines, and more.
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Councilwoman Castillo stated the following regarding the budget, "It is an honor to advocate on behalf of my neighbors as a councilmember. I want to thank the District 5 community who showed up to advocate for themselves and their neighbors at our District 5 town halls and our tele-town hall watch party. We need more of that energy from community as we approach the upcoming affordable housing bond.
The budget alone cannot completely address the decades of inequity for some of the poorest Census tracts in the City, so my District 5 team and I will continue to fight for much needed investments in affordable housing, sidewalks, streets, and drainage especially as flooding is a major concern we heard at the doors. This concern is warranted as we mark the 100-year anniversary of the devastating flood that cut the lives of many San Antonio families short.
We were able to secure funding for items important to our residents. District 5 can expect 580 thousand in improvements to Cassiano Park. Through the budget amendment process we were able to secure funding for home rehab programs like Under 1 Roof to $5.25 million ensuring more investment in our most affordable housing stock, the start of a Deconstruction Prevention & Mitigation Pilot Program that will reduce the environmental impact of demolitions, add more green jobs, and will recycle housing materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and an increase in Senior services through the older adult technology services to increase computer literacy for our elderly residents.
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I would like to congratulate city workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2021 who collected signatures, and petitioned the City to secure a 4 percent raise, and a 1 percent lump-sum bonus within the budget. This improves the lives of over 900 city workers who live in District 5, and all city workers. When workers organize, they win!
Finally, I would like for myself and my council colleagues to think long and hard on what fiscal responsibility looks like heading into the future as the police budget continues to increase at the expense of other vital public goods such as parks, libraries, housing, and other basic public services. We must think long and hard on the effects of Texas State legislation like HB-1900 that punishes local governments that decide to fund vital and necessary public services over policing."
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