Wednesday, December 21, 2011

City of San Antonio Winter Holiday Closures

From Saturday, December 24, 2011 through Sunday, January 1, 2012 the City will observe a Winter Holiday schedule. During that week, the City will formally observe five holidays, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and three designated Winter Holidays.

While most City Staff will not work during the holiday closures, several departments will be open to ensure ongoing provision of key services to the residents of San Antonio.
Animal Care, Aviation, Alamodome, Convention center, CVB, 311 Operators, Parks, Libraries, Metro health, Solid waste, and development services all have adjusted schedules.

Public safety and emergency services will remain in operation.

For more information regarding the Winter Holiday Schedule visit the City Website.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012-2017 Proposed Bond Program

After two months, an important portion of the 2012-2017 Proposed Bond Program’s public input process has been concluded, with the completion of 20 public meetings consisting of 16 Community Bond Meetings and four Community Bond Tours. During the public process, over 800 residents were in attendance at the meetings, and 165 resident comments were made. Overall, the Committee Members found the public process to be well organized, successful and transparent.

Overall, the Community Bond Committee Members recommended 135 projects for the proposed $596 Million 2012-2017 Bond Program. A detailed list of the recommended projects can be found at

The next steps in the development of the proposed Bond Program will be the presentation and discussion of the Community Bond Committee Recommendations on January 11, 2012 within a City Council “B” Session. Following this presentation, the City Council will consider the recommendations made by the committees. Upon approval of the projects, City Council will call a special election for the proposed bond program for Saturday, May 12, 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

$30 Million Excess Bond Projects

On February 19, 2009, City Council approved the $30 Million Excess Bond Balance Program with a total of 97 projects. Funding for these projects are the result of the identification of remaining balances in various bonds and certificate of obligation funds that required disposition and could be reprogrammed. These projects are grouped into three categories:

2007 Bond Program Augmentation – This category includes projects that 1) achieve the initial intended scope, or 2) further enhance improvements, for projects within the 2007 Bond Program. The budget for this category totals $12.1 million and consists of 11 projects. An example of this type of project is the Mission Branch Library Project in Council District 3.

Public Works’ Managed Projects – This category includes local street improvements, curbs, sidewalks, traffic system improvements, and drainage improvements. The budget for this category totals $8.9 million and consists of 66 projects. An example of this type of project is the Mainland Road Improvements Project in Council District 7.

Other Projects – This category includes improvements such as BRAC-related enhancements, Haven for Hope improvements, and park improvements. The budget for this category totals $7.2 million and consists of 20 projects.

As of today 95% of the projects are complete with 80% of the total program’s budget spent

- 91 projects have been completed
- 4 projects are under construction or under contract for construction
- 2 projects are under design
- For a Total of 97

The projects under design or construction are estimated to be completed in 2012.

Monday, December 12, 2011

FY2012 Budget Highlights Brochure

The FY 2012 Annual Adopted Operating and Capital Budget document along with the Adopted Budget Highlight Brochure is now available.

The FY 2012 Budget is balanced and invests additional resources in City Council priorities including Police, Fire, Streets, Libraries, Animal Care and Economic Development. The FY 2012 Budget includes no City property tax rate increase and maintains the budgeted financial reserves at 9 percent of General Fund Expenditures.

The FY 2011 Operating and Capital Budget is available online and copies are available at the Central Library, each Branch Library, and Community Link Centers for public reference. Copies of the City's Budget document have been submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) to be considered for the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. This award recognizes budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect GFOA's recommended best practices.

The FY 2012 Budget Highlights brochure provides a high level summary of the Adopted Budget and the program changes that will impact the community. This brochure is in both English and Spanish.

Copies of this brochure are available at all Libraries and City Offices.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Riverwalk Capital Improvements and LED Holiday Lighting Program

The River Walk Capital Improvements Master Plan was finalized in 2008, and identified a prioritized list of capital improvements with an estimated total cost of $15 million to be constructed over four phases. The Master Plan identified the infrastructure needs for the historic river bend to include sidewalks, stairs, lighting upgrades, walkway retaining walls, and a number of aesthetic improvements.

A total of $3.5 million was spent on Phase I which was completed in March 2010. This phase made the entire River Walk ADA accessible from S. Alamo to the Museum Reach. Phase II is currently underway with a $3.6 million program. Work began in March 2011 and is estimated to be completed by May 2012. Improvements for the phase included the Chamber of Commerce area, La Mansion fountain to Presa St. linkage and the Commerce Street Bridge area which will begin in January 2012. The FY 2012 budget included $2.5 million for Phase III with an estimated start date of June 2012.
Complementing these capital improvements, are the holiday lighting improvements on the Riverwalk, creating a new holiday experience through the use of green technologies. The enhanced lighting replaces 85,000 multi-color incandescent bulbs with 1.8 million LED mini-bulbs. As part of the City’s commitment to long-term sustainability of resources, this 100% LED conversion features 20 times more lights and uses less than half the energy of the traditional incandescent lighting.

The project also includes the addition of multi-color programmable holiday accent lighting on street bridges from Lexington to the International Center. The holiday lighting officially begins on November 25 at the Holiday River Parade and lighting ceremony, we invite residents and visitors to enjoy our annual holiday spectacle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4th Annual Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

San Antonio hosted the 4th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 13. Events included a full and a half marathon; a half marathon relay; a wheelchair invitational; and, new this year, a 22-mile Bike Tour. This year’s event had 30,495 registered participants, with 23,822 finishers. Runners from all 50 states were represented in the field.

David Fuentes, 25 year old former standout in cross country at Boerne High School (now living in Austin TX), crossed the finish line in first. Liza Hunter-Galvan, 42 year old two-time Olympian was the first woman to cross the line.

Vince Neil was the headliner at the Finish Line Festival, with some 50 bands performing along the route throughout the day; many of the performers were local.

This year, the marathon’s exclusive national charity is Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We estimate between 35,000 to 40,000 out-of-town visitors. These visitors would occupy an estimated 30,000 hotel rooms over the Marathon weekend. The impact from this year’s event has not been completed, but the marathon is expected to have an approximate $40 million economic impact.

Our thanks to Several City Departments including SAPD, SAFD, Downtown Operations, Public Works, Development Services, Solid Waste, Convention Sports & Entertainment Facilities, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Parks and Recreation, and other entities worked with Competitor Group to ensure a safe and successful event.

Animal Care Services Update

The implementation of the comprehensive rescue strategy by Animal Care Services Department is underway. The live release rate (Which includes adoptions, rescue, and return to owners) was at a record high of 44% in October 2011 compared to 28% in October 2010. This increase from last year to this year is primarily due to the following increases:

  • A 14% increase in Adoptions (326 adoptions to 373 adoptions),

  • A 166% increase in rescues (181 rescues to 482 rescues)

  • And a 35% increase in Return to Owners (100 returns to 135 returns).

  • The number of animals Impounded was also up by 5%

The increased rescue rate is enhanced by a pilot program with San Antonio Humane Society and additional rescues from Austin Pets Alive.

In an effort to continue our comprehensive rescue strategy, ACS conducted sweeps of Area 1 (District 5, 6, and 7) in October resulting in the following:

  • 225 hours of volunteers knocking on over 2,000 homes in the area

  • ACS impounded 127 animals

  • 354 spay/neuter surgeries were performed in Area 1

  • Area 1 sweeps is still ongoing and the Department will continue to impound additional animals

The next comprehensive sweep will take place in Area 2. This area consists of District 4 & 5. The sweeps will begin this weekend (November 18th-20th) with comprehensive activities in November and December. Outreach to Area 3, which is District 2 & 3, will begin In December 2011 with comprehensive activities in January 2012.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

City of San Antonio 2012 Proposed Budget Video and Input

Throughout the month of August, City Councilmembers and City Staff have attended several Community Budget Hearings with San Antonio residents to learn about the 2012 Proposed Budget. The 2012 Proposed Budget Video has also been shown at these events, and can now be viewed online. After watching the video, viewers can provide their own input on the Budget and receive a response from City staff.

To view the 2012 Proposed Budget Video and provide your own input, please click on the following link:

Monday, August 15, 2011

FY 2012 Proposed Budget

The FY 2012 Proposed Budget was presented to the Mayor and City Council at the August 11th City Council meeting. During the month of August, City Councilmembers and City staff will hold Community Budget Hearings in each City Council District. San Antonio residents are invited to attend these events and provide their input on the Proposed Budget. To find out where and when your District’s Budget Hearing will take place, please click on the following link:

For more information on the FY 2012 Proposed Budget, please visit the City of San Antonio’s Office of Management and Budget website at:

Friday, August 12, 2011

FY 2012 Budget Highlights on “Texas Week with Rick Casey “

Tune in to the “Texas Week with Rick Casey” Show tonight for a discussion on the City of San Antonio’s FY 2012 Proposed Budget. The show will include City Manager Sheryl Sculley, and Maria Villagomez, Management and Budget Director, and will be aired on KLRN on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. For more information on “Texas Week with Rick Casey,” please click on the following link:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Creating a Pathway to Zero Waste

For the last several years, the City has placed a high priority on increasing its efforts to improve recycling services for the residents of San Antonio. We know what we do today will increase the sustainability of our community and improve our environment for tomorrow.

In June 2010, City Council adopted the 10-Year Recycling and Resource Recovery Plan for the City of San Antonio. The strategic goals in the “Pathways to Zero Waste” Plan are to ensure that all single-family and multi-family residents have access to convenient recycling programs, to improve recycling opportunities for businesses and schools, and to recycle 60 percent of all material collected by the City’s Solid Waste Management Department.

Some of the steps we are taking to ensure that we reach the goal in the 10-year plan include establishing recycling services for all multi-family complexes, creating a use-reduction and recycling program for plastic shopping bags, and reducing waste and material consumption at City-wide celebrations and cultural events.

Multi-Family Recycling Services
To ensure that all residents of San Antonio have the opportunity to recycle, in December 2010 the City Council approved a recycling initiative for multi-family complexes (apartments, condos, and high rise housing buildings) that requires recycling services be provided for all tenants. Now, all San Antonio residents will have recycling services by April 2012. For more information about the program, visit or call the Multi-Family Hotline at 207-6410.

Plastic Shopping Bags Use Reduction & Recycling Program
I am excited to announce our new Plastic Shopping Bags Use Reduction & Recycling program. The City understands the impact that plastic shopping bags can have on our environment so we have teamed up will several partner businesses, like HEB, to launch an awareness and marketing campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase the usage of reusable shopping bags, increase the amount of plastic bags being recycled, and decrease plastic bag litter in San Antonio. Be on the look out for bag swap events, recycling kiosks at area retailers, and other ideas on ways you can reduce your usage of plastic bags.

Fiesta Recycling “Don’t Trash Fiesta…No one likes a messy party”
This year, the City focused on increasing recycling participation at the 2011 Fiesta celebration. I am pleased to announce that we quadrupled the amount of recyclables collected this year. In 2010 we collected approximately 2.4 tons of recyclable material and in 2011 we collected 13.8 tons of recyclable material. We know we are just scratching the surface in this area and we are already working with the Fiesta Commission to develop plans for next year so we can recycle even more. Thanks San Antonio!

For more information about the City’s recycling efforts, visit .

Monday, March 14, 2011

San Antonio International Airport Vision 2050 and Lone Star Rail Update

As the City of San Antonio continues to grow, our transportation systems are becoming increasingly important. There are several exciting changes on the horizon for the City of San Antonio, including an updated San Antonio International Airport Master Plan and the potential creation of a passenger rail system between San Antonio and Austin.

Vision 2050 – San Antonio International Master Plan
A major milestone at the San Antonio International Airport will be realized this Spring as Vision 2050, the update to the Airport’s Master Plan, will go before City Council for consideration and adoption. Vision 2050 identifies the development options regarding land use, facilities and services to ensure that the airport meets its strategic objectives and can accommodate expected levels of activity over the next 20 years.

The nearly two year process has included input from more than 90 individuals representing close to 70 organizations, including universities, businesses, chambers of commerce, local municipalities, tourism and community organizations, local utilities and transportation entities. Two public meetings were also held to allow the public to ask questions of the Master Plan Team.

The Vision 2050 Airport Master Plan can be viewed here. This site also includes information presented at the committee meetings such as agendas, presentations and the answers to the questions asked at the meetings. The committee came to three main recommendations for the growth of the Airport:

· Master Plan seeks to accommodate activity growth with facilities sized to meet that growth
· Common use airline gates can delay need for terminal expansion
· Airfield “infill areas” improve efficiency of apron/gate interface

Financial Sustainability
· Property acquisition can enhance non-aeronautical revenues
· Commercial development concept established

Transportation Hub
· Multimodal concepts position San Antonio International Airport as a regional transportation hub
· Interface with Austin-San Antonio Rail Corridor
· Opportunity for a VIA transit hub

Lone Star Rail
As another significant transportation initiative, the Lone Star Rail District will effectively compliment Vision 2050. Previously known as the Austin-San Antonio Commuter Rail District, the Lone Star Rail District was established by the Texas legislature in 1997 and formally organized in 2003 to promote the creation of passenger rail system between the cities of Austin and San Antonio. Since that time, the San Antonio City Council has passed several resolutions supporting the creation of the commuter rail district, and actively participated as a member in the district since 2003. City Council also passed a local resolution in support of the 2009 State Legislature appropriation of $200 million annually to fund the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund.

The District has identified 16 potential LSTAR passenger rail stations for the rail line, with five of these stations located in San Antonio. The estimated capital cost for the system is $394 million for initial service and $612 million for full build-out. The District is proposing to fund capital expenses over a period of time through a combination of federal grants, State Rail Relocation funds, Union Pacific cost-sharing and public-private partnerships.

Estimated operation & maintenance costs ($28 million for initial service and $41 million for full build-out for all locations) are proposed to be split three-ways, with one-third each to be contributed annually by San Antonio, Austin, and the combined smaller cities. The San Antonio region’s annual portion equals approximately $9 million for initial service and $14 million at full build-out.

While the City Council has expressed support for this project, they have requested that City staff explore funding possibilities for further consideration in Fiscal Year 2012 budget deliberations later this spring. In order to consider and analyze all funding alternatives, I have appointed an internal Financial Workgroup that will conduct a financial analysis on the proposed station locations and the operating and maintenance costs for the San Antonio region.

Additional information on the LSTAR project can be found on the District’s website: