We Have So Much for Which to be Thankful!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
November 24, 2005

Whenever I encounter the many large or small disappointments in life, I have tried to make it my practice to first, get going and stay active, then count my blessings! Whether confronting some challenge or just cruising along in life, it is very healthy to think about the positives in life. Oftentimes we are so focused on what we want that we fail to celebrate what we have!

As your Commissioner, allow me to list just some of the things for which I am grateful. The ACCD Bond issue passed in its improved second version. Often, practice makes public officials and public propositions.

The County in its ongoing energy leadership role, inaugurated a public E-85 ethanol station, the first ever in Texas! The County achieved the largest number of Big Pass users by offering to Bexar County employees a $5.00 monthly bus pass. As a result, 800 plus employees will be saving $200.00 to $300.00 monthly in gas and parking expenses and will not be fouling the air by driving their individual vehicles on our already crowded expressway system.

As your Commissioner, I am very proud to see the beginning of the implementation of the 2003 Bond projects:

$10,000,000.00 in road and infrastructure improvements to one of the busiest growth areas in Precinct Four around the new Judson ISD Wagner High School on North Foster Road. The newest County Park located in Lakewood Acres along the Cibolo will see $400,000.00 and the Navajo Room, $200,000.00 in improvements. Our community's emergency operations center will have $4,000,000.00 to deal with acts of God (nature) or acts of man (terrorism).

The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) has allowed us to quite substantially refurbish the pavilion and kitchen at Pletz Park. We continue to provide significant CDBG funding to other critical areas as well.

I have declared "war" on neighborhood blight. Part of my initiative includes the scrutiny of Section 8 Housing sponsored public homes in our neighborhoods.

In Chairing the Jail Population Committee of Commissioner's Court, I count the Center for Health Care Services (our major mental health care provider) as a serious ally to provide mental health services to mentally ill inmates cycling through our jail and our criminal justice system, needlessly costing us money without addressing the root cause of their being in our system. The cost of the jail alone ($7 million for each 400 inmates annually) to house mental health and substance abuse inmates is just the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to monies laid out to secure and deal with this population.

According to Region 6 of the Small Business Administration which includes Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana, Bexar County maintains the finest small, minority and women-owned business center in this Region!

I am thankful for the smooth handling of our emergency operations center during the Katrina and Rita Hurricanes and the harmonious manner in which all the various agencies dealt with the crisis.

On the economic development front, Toyota attracted its twenty-first, on-site supplier bringing the new jobs at the supplier park to 2,100. Washington Mutual has come to town with 4,200 jobs. World Savings will have at least another 2,000 to 5,000 new jobs. On the smaller yet respectable scale is DPT Labs with 75 new positions, 50 of which are in research and development-higher paying jobs. All of these jobs have at least a living wage ($9.06 per hour) and access to health care benefits!

And there are yet others not mentioned in this article.

And another, though not the last of blessings to be counted, is the cutting or retaining of the Bexar County tax rate for the eleventh straight year in a row!

May you and yours be blessed with many good things at this time of the year and beyond!

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