Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Days - A time to get outdoors

Summer is here and with it are many opportunities to maintain a healthy balance between our work and personal lives. Our Health and Wellness Strategic Plan includes several initiatives we can take advantage of to prepare for several community health events later this year.

Training for the Rock-N-Roll San Antonio Marathon and ½ Marathon has begun. A six month training program, conducted by Run Gear Run, is designed for walkers, joggers, beginning runners, and long-time runners. This is the 4th year this training has been offered to City Employees and it is a great opportunity for those who just want to get back into shape or start a fitness program. Online registration for the Rock-N-Roll Marathon closes on November 7th. City of San Antonio Employees receive a discount on registration. The race sells out so be sure to register early. Visit for more information.

Training can also prepare you for the City Manager’s Wrap Up the Year in Good Health 5K Run/Walk scheduled for Saturday, December 11 at Brackenridge Park. Details on this event will be available later in the year. I look forward to seeing many of our employees at our annual event!

On June 17, 2010, City Council approved the establishment of a bicycle sharing program to augment alternative and “active” transportation choices in the downtown area. This program, funded with stimulus funds through the Department of Energy and Centers for Disease Control, is coordinated by our Office of Environmental Policy in partnership with Bike World. Bikes used for this program will be equipped with the capability to track mileage, calories burned, as well as carbon offsets. Contact Julia Diana, Office of Environmental Policy, at 207-6321 for more information.

Summer is also a great time to enjoy our city parks with your family. Many of our parks are equipped with playground equipment, multi-purpose play fields, outdoor education areas and other amenities. Additionally, many of our parks include multi-purpose trails to use as part of your marathon training or daily exercise, including our new park, Phil Hardberger Park, which features 1.7 miles of trails and a 1.8 acre dog park.

I also encourage you to visit our city pools where you can strengthen your heart and lungs while enjoying relief from the summer heat. Pools offer the opportunity for swimming lessons for all ages at a low cost, water aerobics, and swim teams for youngsters. It’s a great way to burn calories, build muscle, and relieve stress. Visit the Parks and Recreation Department website at for more details on park and pool hours and scheduled activities.

The health and wellness or our employees and families is important to me. Participating in outdoor recreational activities and taking advantage of the many initiatives of our Health and Wellness Strategic Plan is a great way to maintain your health and fitness.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Participation is key to developing City budget

The Five Year Financial Forecast, which was presented to the City Council on May 12, kicked-off the FY 2011 Budget process. For the FY 2011 Budget process, the City faces many of the same challenges we faced in FY 2010 - declining revenues and additional expenditure requests. In the FY 2010 Budget, we were able to overcome these challenges and adopt a budget that reduced expenditures by $19 million through efficiencies and a reduction in administrative overhead. The FY 2010 Budget focused on service priorities critical to the City’s local economic recovery and the commitment to provide high quality services to improve the lives of residents. With these focus areas and strong financial management strategies, the City has been able weather the economic storm and maintains a solid financial position for the development of the FY 2011 Budget.

The Budget Goal Setting Session was held on May 18 with the Mayor and City Council to obtain guidance from Council on City services and financial policies that guide the development of the budget. As a result of this meeting, the City Council supported the recommendations to 1) maintain the City’s Budgeted Financial reserves at 9% of General Fund appropriations, 2) allow some flexibility in achieving a two-year Balanced Budget in light of the current local economic conditions, and 3) maintain the City’s Property Tax Rate at the current level for FY 2011. Additionally, the results of the City Services Ballot were reviewed and Infrastructure and Public Safety emerged as top priorities.

With input and feedback from the Mayor and City Council, City staff has begun to prepare budget recommendations. In July, I will meet with City Departments to develop a balanced budget that reflects the Mayor and City Council’s policy guidelines and service priorities while maintaining a strong financial position. I will present the FY 2011 Proposed Operating and Capital Budget to the Mayor and City Council on August 12, 2010.

The City encourages residents and City employees to participate in the budget development process. City employees can be involved in the budget process in several different ways to include utilizing a Budget Input Box and the Frontline Focus Initiative. Employees can submit budget ideas and suggestions through the Budget Input Box available online and in paper format in English or Spanish. Input boxes also can be found at all City facilities to include libraries and Community Link Centers. The Frontline Focus Initiative will provide City staff the opportunity to identify process improvements for consideration during the development of the proposed Budget. Over the past three years, more than 500 employees in all departments have participated in the Frontline Focus process.

Following my FY 2011 Proposed Budget presentation in August, citizens can provide input on the budget at District Community Budget Hearings to be scheduled within each City Council District. Community and employee input is an important part in creating a budget that meets the needs of the residents and I look forward to hearing from citizens and employees throughout the development of the budget.

The FY 2011 proposed Budget will be considered by the Mayor and City Council for adoption on September 16. As we move forward to adopt a balanced budget, I encourage each of you to continue to provide your input on how we can work together to provide quality services to the community.