Celebrating What We Have and Focusing on What We Want!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
December 18, 2003
Recently I heard someone say that sometimes we are so busy focusing on what we want that we forget to celebrate what we have. Without dismissing for one moment, the things we so much seek to have, I thought that in the spirit of the season, I would set forth some of the things that I believe, are worthy of celebration. 2003 was indeed a banner year for the County in many ways.
Thank God, we had no floods to contend with. In 1998 and 2002 we had two, back-to-back 500 year floods. This year we are somewhat shy of our normal 30 inch average annual rainfall amount at 28.34 inches without including December, 2003. This latter fact notwithstanding, the flood control work continues as we look to a better and safer future.
Toyota chose San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas to site their newest manufacturing plant. Importantly we were around eighth among our competitor-cities in terms of the amount of incentives we had to offer Toyota. Additionally, Toyota should bring to town not just 2,000 jobs that pay $40,000 to $70,000 annually, they have a full benefits package to boot. Toyota is also a "zero-landfill" company, meaning that everything they use to manufacture Toyota Tundra's with will be reused or recycled. Finally and perhaps most importantly, Toyota brings with them a concept of "kaizan", a concept that means continual improvement.
Although not on the same scale as Toyota, a Silicon Valley company called Maxim, purchased the old Philips Semiconductor plant in northwest Bexar County. Philips had just laid off 520 employees. Maxim will invest $50 million worth of improvements to the facility and ultimately employ more that 500 people in a line of work similar to Philips. They will make computer chips for battery supplies in cellular phones, set-top television boxes, cameras and other electronics.
We have a great staff both at the Commissioner's Office and within Bexar County government in general.
Eight straight years from 1995 through this year of 2003 of cut tax rates or retention of the same tax rates. I am not sure how many governmental units within our County can match this record. If you know of any, I would be interested to add them to my information bank. Though we all realize that property values have risen, that is done by the Appraisal District which is essentially a state agency governed by State law, not Commissioners Court.
Approval by voters of the $99.2 million bond issue means that road improvements in one of the busiest sections of Precinct Four, the new Judson High School area, will receive much needed attention. Juvenile facilities, an emergency operations center and a new probation building as well as parks improvements will also be done.
The good credit rating that allows Bexar County to sell bonds at very favorable rates. Our bond rating by S & P is Double A; Moody's is a Double A and Fitch is a Double A Plus! Your support and our diligence and surely good fortune has made all of this possible.
A responsible jail population of 3,550 as I write you this letter is surely a sign that Bexar County may yet find its way clear to remove itself from the regular monthly State Jail Commission Agenda. This is what I call the "dysfunctional county jails" list and is one on which Bexar County has been on nonstop, for years now. The reality is that the State of Texas uses our county to house its prisoners, free of charge, then penalizes us when our jail is too full. Go "fig"! Still, we want off the Agenda!
We have many outstanding citizens serving on numerous boards and commissions of the County, with Precinct Four joining the other court appointees as outstanding.
This and many more elements of achievement cause me to say that our County and I are blessed beyond measure. And so it is that I tell you that it is my fondest desire that you and yours not only experience the true spirit of the season, but that you enjoy all that a great life can offer as you step into the new year!