A Peek Over the Pale of Next Year's Budget
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
July 27, 2006
Though the Bexar County budget is still a couple of months away, it is about time to at lease consider major factors on the revenue and expenditure side. All of us know that the County is growing not just because of Toyota but because of all of the other growth as well. Just driving in our usual patterns suggests that our streets are busier than ever.
On the revenue side, appraisals are up significantly this year as are protests. If you have viewed "Critical Charts" on my website at www.bexar.org, Commissioner's Court, Precinct 4, you will see that real property taxes provide the County with 75% of its revenue. We have no sales tax and no pass-through monies from City Public Service (CPS-Energy).
New construction from the "Toyota effect" has new revenue from the commercial sector. Where the new business is incentivized, by and large, the school district and the University Health System gained everything and gave up nothing to provide the incentive. The City or County sacrificed for the greater good and of course, for itself.
Investment income is 3-4 times higher than last year because of the higher interest rates, "sweeping" of cash deposits with a new bank depository, better investment strategies and cash management.
So much of every budget is judgmental. So it is that an educated calculation will determine what the impact of the following will have on our budget this year:
- Over 65 Tax Freeze - In an effort to lessen the impact of our hottest real estate market in the country, Bexar County will provide this benefit for the first time.
- Collective Bargaining for Deputy Sheriffs - In this post 911 environment, we are stemming the flow of deputies to other counties by fairer compensation here.
- Other Employees Compensation - First class people delivering first class service are retained by competitive compensation.
- Rising Energy Costs - With strong energy management, several measures put in place such as the state's largest solar hot water heater at the Jail Annex have saved us around $200,000 annually!
- Technology - What gets measured tends to improve. Though expensive, modern technology though expensive, allows for greater ability to plan and manage the fiscal well-being of the County.
- Jail Population Initiatives - we have kept the population to 4,300 when last year we projected the population to be 4,700 by this time. Every 400 inmates is about $7 million annually in direct costs.
- Legislative Impacts - the State has a habit of pushing down to local units of government, responsibilities it has historically shouldered. It then passes measures to limit our ability to pay for services it demands of us in addition to what our citizenry expects.
- Population Growth and Demands for New Services - This speaks for itself.