Bexar County Judge Nelson has placed his support behind a bill in the legislature that would consolidate the governments of San Antonio and Bexar County into a single entity.
A pair of bills filed by state Rep. Lyle Larson would create a single government combining San Antonio’s City Council with the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he has supported the idea of a San Antonio/Bexar County metro government for the past 30 years.
"The city quit annexation about ten years ago so it’s sort of thrown a different light on things," Wolff said. "Before the city had an aggressive annexation policy but more and more people are living out in the county now and there’s limited access of funding measures for the county to meet those needs. If this sort of process continues consolidation becomes more and more of a meaningful effort."
Wolff previously served as mayor of San Antonio, and was a member of the Texas House and Senate in the 1970s. Approving the consolidation is a complicated process that would require legislative approval and two separate public votes: One to approve the idea, and the second to create a charter.
"It would start a process where you would begin trying to see if local governments could come to some agreement on how to do it," he said. "So it’s sort of a long process if indeed his bill did pass."
The end result could mean additional council seats that would represent the entire county or possibly merge departments like the San Antonio Police and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
There’s no way to predict the outcome right now as it would depend on the charter. A similar bill was filed last session but it died in committee. There is a house county affairs committee on the bill on Thursday.
Bills by State Rep. Lyle Larson:
- HB 151 - Relating to the adoption of a county charter by Bexar County.
- HJR 30 - Proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the voters of certain counties to adopt a charter that restructures and empowers the county government and that may allow the integration of the county government with certain other political subdivisions located wholly or partly in the county.