Editorial: Time to go, Councilmembers De León and Cedillo
The City’s Council has a duty to approve the latest version of the city’s budget, whether it is a new budget proposal or an amended budget. The City of San Antonio has been through this dance before, at least three times.
In 2016, councilmembers approved a proposed budget that lacked the revenue to fully fund the full level of services. In 2017, following a financial crisis, councilmembers were forced to put a temporary hold on the budget and work on it in hopes that the city would be able to pass a final budget with the necessary funds. All of these steps meant more debate, and an ever-increasing number of city residents were voicing their opinion to the council. The proposed 2017 budget was adopted by a 3-2 vote of the council with the speaker absent.
The city once again faced a financial crisis in 2018, and the council’s vote to end the 2017 budget impasse had the mayor present. This time, the vote to approve the 2018 budget was 5-2, with the speaker’s vote cast by the mayor, and the vote to approve the final budget, which had the city’s staff and other city departments approve, was 7-0.
Now, in 2019, the city is in the middle of yet another budget stalemate. The 2019 city budget is still being developed. We have yet to even hear the final recommendations of the city’s new fiscal intermediary, San Antonio’s Independent Budget Office. The city and county are both under court order to get the 2019 budget in place by the end of the month.
When a budget stalemate occurs, the only option for the city is to make adjustments to the final bill, and that brings up the question: are these adjustments necessary?
Here are the four reasons I think it is time to stop the budget stalemate and go back to the drawing board.
1. There is insufficient revenue to fully fund the full program of services – Councilmembers De León and Cedillo