As city leaders looked at a $50 million shortfall the City of San Antonio's draft budget, cuts to library hours and park maintenance were on the table. The ad valorem tax on property, where the city raises much of its funds, has remained flat since 2009 while property valuations have resulted in more money for city coffers.
Community organizations protested and city councilors responded.
As ideas continue to be generated for the redevelopment of Hemisfair Park, city council has approved additional funding to the agency planning the future of the previous World’s Fair site. The corporation is also seeking public input on what the park should look like.
In it’s 2014 budget city council has approved $1.15 million to the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation. Omar Gonzalez, Hemisfair’s planning and operations director, said that’s more than double what the organization has received before.
With more than 70 delegate agencies, the city council each year funds the organizations to help them accomplish their missions, but this time the council had to make cuts to meet its objective of balancing the budget.
San Antonio budget director Maria Villagomez said the agencies, with the exception of Haven for Hope, took a five percent cut.
It's not enough for District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules, who has said every non-essential service should be eliminated.
If an amendment remains in place when San Antonio City Council votes on the budget this week, then the doors at city libraries will stay open all week long.
Library board chair Jean Brady cautioned that nothing is final until the city council votes Thursday on the proposed budget. But right now it looks like library funding will be restored to keep branch libraries open.
"If this funding’s been restored then that means we’ll be at seven days a week doing business as usual," Brady said Monday. "We’re delighted."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said there is a provision in the city’s non-discrimination ordinance that silences anyone who may have a disagreement with the newly updated ordinance, which provides protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.
"I believe that violates the first amendment -- both freedom of speech and freedom of religion -- and violates the Texas Constitution. And I believe that makes the San Antonio ordinance subject to a legal challenge," Abbott said.
Now the question is if Abbott will take legal action.