The Bexar Budget for 2005-2006
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 15, 2005

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence defining the spirit of our American Revolution, he stated: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

What we do at Commissioner's Court will never attain the level of significance of that great and heroic event in our history. However, the imposition of taxes at the County level deserves a proper recitation of some basic elements even if in a highlighted form, of the causes which impel us to adopt the tax rate and budget we have. I trust that it will merit your approval in general if not specific.

Importantly, our budget maintains the same tax rate as last year's of $0.33119 per $100 valuation. This is possible because of the growth of the tax base of the County. It is though, the 11th time your County has either cut or retained the same tax rate.

Significant policy decisions have been made with respect to energy. The recent power outage in Los Angeles and other foibles such as the crashing of the Northeastern United States power grid evidence glitches avoidable and perhaps unavoidable. We are working to strengthen our energy position to avoid the inconvenience and suffering of people when energy is unavailable. Of vital economic interest, is to provide business with dependable energy without which we would not be as economically competitive as other communities with a reliable energy supply.

We allocated $50,000.00 for the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy (MPE), which by all reports, is unique in Texas. The MPE consists of Bexar County, City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, San Antonio Water System, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) and VIA Metropolitan Transit. Our aim is to take the major energy users to a new level of energy conservation while finding other technologies helpful to energy savings.

Consistent with the goal of energy savings for Bexar County is $367,000.00 to provide more energy-efficient County facilities. With an added $600,000.00 we will address increasing fuel costs. We will however, be purchasing a number of hybrid vehicles to increase miles per gallon. In the interest of diversifying our supply of fuel, we have also scheduled the first E-85 (ethanol 85%/gasoline 15%) fueling station at our new Fleet Management Facility on I-35.

Commissioner's Court has also reorganized our old Housing and Human Services agency to be entitled the Criminal Justice Planning and Coordination Department. It will focus on critical criminal justice issues such as jail population. In developing an array of streamlined and accountability-based procedures as well as approaches to dealing with both the accused and the offenders, we will not only save tens of millions, we will build a more functional community.

I look forward to addressing other aspects of the budget in future articles.

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