County commissioners to vote on $1.71 billion budget today
Bexar County commissioners are expected to vote on a roughly $1.71 billion budget today that would slightly reduce property tax rates, devote about $19.6 million for new road projects and restore constable positions the court was considering eliminating.
The budget represents a decline in overall funding of about $54 million from last year, when the budget was $1.76 billion.
The property tax rate is set to decrease again next year, to 30.1097 cents per $100 of property value, but rising property values mean the county will actually collect 4.7 percent, or about $19 million, more in revenue, according to county officials.
Officials said new construction accounts for $10 million of that revenue. The tax rate last year was 30.4097 cents per $100.
Commissioners backtracked on their plan to cut 15 positions from the county’s four constable offices. After the constables criticized those cuts, the commissioners said they were able to certify more revenue to save the positions.
But Commissioner Paul Elizondo said Monday that he plans to create a task force to study constable workloads. He said it’s an annual issue in which the county’s data suggest cuts should be made and the constables say the numbers aren’t accurate.
One late addition to the budget was $118,000 for a law enforcement psychologist in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Javier Salazar asked County Judge Nelson Wolff about the funding Sunday, after a weekend in which three of his deputies were arrested.
Salazar said the psychologist would take on a multifaceted role that includes screening future applicants, helping officers manage stress, as well as teaching mental well-being classes at the academy and advising officers during SWAT or negotiation situations.
Dylan McGuinness covers county goverment and local politics for the Express-News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.