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San Antonio City Council votes to approve $3.7 billion 2024 budget

The budget includes funding for more than 100 police officers and first responder mental health resources, but one councilmember abstained.

SAN ANTONIO — All but one San Antonio City Council member approved the city's $3.7 billion 2024 budget.

The budget includes funding for more than 100 police officers and first responder mental health resources, as well as increased funding for Animal Care Services. 10 members of City Council voted to approve the budget on Thursday afternoon, but District 10 City Councilman Mark Whyte abstained.

“This budget takes a comprehensive approach to community safety,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It includes funding to help San Antonians achieve housing security, job security, and provides 117 new police positions, 41 firefighter positions and a significant increase in Animal Care Services. I want to thank City Manager Erik Walsh and his team for their stellar work and my colleagues for helping shape a truly holistic, thoughtful budget.”

According to the City's data, $963.9 million will go to public safety (police, parks police, and fire) while $125.1 million will go toward infrastructure and $68.6 million will be earmarked for parks and recreation.

“The City of San Antonio’s budget highlights our commitment to addressing the issues our residents said were most important to them,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “We’re strategically investing resources in long-term solutions to keep San Antonio safe, enhance our residents’ quality of life and improve customer service, while delivering property tax relief. I want to thank the City team for dedication to the community. I also want to thank our residents for speaking up and being part of the policy-making process through their comments and participation at town hall meetings.”

The 2024 budget afforded a 26% increase in funding for Animal Care Services, which aims to add 15 additional personnel to cut down on response times to roughly 3,500 annual bite cases nearly in half. 

Homeless encampments were revealed to be the top issue per a city-issued survey. The approved budget is projected to include efforts to clean up to 700 homeless encampments and shelter 400 people. 

“If we get a call about an encampment, we’ll do the assessment, the outreach and clean it up within two weeks," said City Manager Erik Walsh.

On Thursday afternoon, last-minute debate centered around the Reproductive Justice Fund, a $500,000 fund to help women access reproductive healthcare, including out-of-state abortions.

Multiple San Antonio residents spoke during public comment, denouncing the fund. 

Earlier this week, Whyte praised the overall city budget for tackling homelessness and adding 105 new police officers. But Whyte, who is anti-abortion, said he’s opposed to the idea of allocating any amount of taxpayer dollars to funding abortions performed outside of Texas.  

“This is an eleventh-hour amendment that some folks are trying to sneak into the budget,” Whyte said. “We should use this money on infrastructure. We could use this money in a host of different ways that would go to benefit our citizens here in San Antonio.” 

Before the budget passed, Whyte tried  passing two motions to dismiss the Reproductive Justice Find but both attempts failed. 

Mayor Ron Nirenberg expressed support for the process going forward as it relates to future meetings involving the community to decide how the Reproductive Justice Fund will actually operate. He also touched on the legal aspect of the initiative. 

“Everything that we do with that fund will be within the confines of the law and guided by our attorney but I am confident that we will filling a gap that’s desperately needed as the rights of women are continuing to be under attack not just here in the state of Texas but across the country," Nirenberg said.  

District 5 City Councilmember Teri Castillo said the Reproductive Justice Fund aligns with the mission of a resolution passed one year ago. Castillo said the Metropolitan Health District would disperse the $500,000 in the form of grants to multiple non-profits that provide reproductive healthcare assistance. 


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