San Antonio City Council today approved a municipal budget for the coming fiscal year, but not before council was raked over the coals by people who feel the budget is too large, and by people who feel the budget is too small, 1200 WOAI news reports.
To eliminate an estimated $50 million deficit going into the budget process, City Manager Sheryl Sculley says the budget marked significant cuts in city programs and services.
"This budget, even with the amendments, still eliminates nearly 200 civilian positions," Sculley said. "We were able to do that by using technology."
But north side council members Elisa Chan and Carlton Soules blistered Sculley for overspending.
"This is a missed opportunity, and that opportunity is getting San Antonio's budget back on track," Soules said.
The issues that we are facing are fairly straightforward, we are spending more money than we are bringing in. I also think the solution is equally straightforward, cutting spending and eliminating unnecessary projects. But unfortunately, instead of balancing this budget the rights way, we are resorting to band-aid approaches, and then again hitting up the taxpayer. I don't think this is the right approach."
Soules pointed out that when the budget was first presented, it included a property tax increase, which was rejected out of hand.
But this budget does include significant fee increases, including a $1 per month 'Parks Environmental Fee' which will be included on CPS Energy bills.
"The proposed parks and environmental fee is not a fee for service," Chan said. "Money from this fee will be used to free up general fund money."
Chan said this budget places the city's AAA bond rating in danger, because it spends more money that it brings in, and it relies on short term solutions, like selling city property, to make the budget balanced.
"This city council is unwilling to make the necessary cuts to bring the expenditures in line with the revenues that we collect," she said.
But several groups protested the cuts which are included in the budget. Barbara Hawkins of the George Gervin Youth Center expressed concerns that a youth jobs program at the center is being eliminated in the budget.
"As I look at this budget, I see more resources spend on cats and dogs than it spends on children," she said. "That is wrong."