Elimination of Duplication and Ineffiency Sought
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 13, 2004
The City/County Service Integration Commission was formed by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County last fall. The Commission is composed of 21 members, with 10 members selected by Bexar County, 10 members selected by the City of San Antonio and the Chair, Glen Hartman appointed jointly by Mayor Garza and Judge Wolff.
The Commission was charged with the following:
- Review best practices and models from other communities, including the role of special authorities and districts;
- Develop and implement community education programs on the desirability of functional consolidation;
- Recommend a plan to transfer and consolidate functions/services between county and city governments or other special authorities that is equitable to both City and County taxpayers, in order to make the structure of local government more efficient, effective and accountable; and
- Develop a draft of state legislation that may be needed to implement the Commission's recommendations.
The Commission was initially given a timeline of six months for completing and presenting a final report on findings and recommendations to Commissioners Court and City Council. The timeline was extended for an additional 30 days to allow for the completion of a report by Judge Wolff and Mayor Garza. Both entities agreed that the Commission's work is vital for staff consideration in the FY 2004-05 budget process.
In order to examine the full scope of City and County services, the Commission divided into six subcommittees to study the following functional areas: public safety, administrative support services, health and human resources, utilities, public works and environmental services, planning and urban development, recreation and leisure services, and community education. Since establishment, the Commission met repeatedly and received numerous presentations by City and County staff.
The Commission also hosted four public hearings (Citizen Participation Meetings) throughout the four quadrants of San Antonio. The purpose for the public hearings was twofold: public awareness and public input. The Commission's Preliminary Report includes public input received.
Recently, the Commission made formal presentation of its Preliminary Report to the City's Intergovernmental Relations Committee and City Council.
The City/County Service Integration Commission Report is divided into four main sections, those that require:
- State legislation;
- Interlocal agreement between or among governmental entities;
- Administrative action;
- Future city/county consolidation efforts.
Rather than lay out the entirety of the report, I thought I would share some of the recommendations that require interlocal agreement. This means that the city and county could get together and agree on some of the following items. It does not mean that they should or will, but it can depending on the will of the community and its elected leadership. This action will build on the numerous actions taken to coordinate and consolidate functions such as tax collection, animal control, library services, Central Magistration, Jail Operations, JP Court Operations and Major Court Systems.
Recommendations that will require a formal interlocal agreement:
City/County Housing Authorities: Consolidation of both housing authorities into a single City/County housing authority.
County CDBG Administration: County should contract with the City for administration and monitoring of its CDBG program (except for direct County government capital improvements).
Subdivision Development Process: Amend interlocal agreement under HB 1445 to make the County a reviewing agency for subdivision plats.
Countywide 3-1-1 System: Expand City's 3-1-1 program to include all County services.
Satellite Service Offices: Combine into a network of service centers the City's Community Link Service Centers and the County's scattered satellite offices.
Regional Police Training Academy: Integration of the Sheriff's, AACOG's, and the City's training academy as a regional training facility.
Central Jury Pool: City/County interlocal agreement to provide jurors in Municipal Court to be selected from the citizens responding to the County's call to jury services.
Park Security: Enter into an interlocal agreement to provide security at all the parks in Bexar County through the San Antonio Parks Police.
S.A.R.A. Park Reservations: Include in the consolidation of central park reservations system, the San Antonio River Authority.
City/County Human Resources: Administratively consolidate City and County Human Resources Departments.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS): County should enter into an interlocal agreement with the City to allow for information development and exchange.
Countywide Household Hazardous Waste Collection: Develop agreements which would enable suburban residents to utilize the City's household hazardous waste drop-off center with minimal or no on-site charge to them.
County Illegal Dumping: County should contract with the City for the use of City Crews and equipment to clean-up illegal dump sites in the unincorporated areas.
County Traffic Signals Operation and Maintenance: County should explore the potential economies in the maintenance of traffic lights and flashers and installation/maintenance of traffic control signs and pavement markings in the unincorporated areas by contracting with the City.