Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where Do Your Property Taxes Go? City of San Antonio

A Recap of City of San Antonio revenues and spending. So $1,074.42 of your property taxes goes to the City of San Antonio.

The City of San Antonio receives revenues from several sources: Property taxes (25%), Charges and fees (20%), Revenues from Utilities (17%), Grants (usually federal) (15%), Sales Tax (14%), Hotel/Motel Tax (4%), Other Taxes (Short Term Rental Tax, Bingo Tax, etc) (2%), Fines (Library Fines, Traffic Tickets) (1%), Miscellaneous (1%), Intergovernment (0.6%), Permits/Licenses (0.4%)

The 2010 Budget for the City divides general fund expenditures in the following ways: Police (36%), Fire/EMS (26%), other services (Aviation, Community Initiatives, Historic Preservation, Solid Waste Management, Military Affairs, etc) (11%), Convention, Tourism and Culture (9%), Streets and Infrastructure (7%), Environmental (5%), Parks & Recreation (6%), Agencies (4%), Library (3%), Health (1%), Municipal Courts (1%), Neighborhood Services (1%), Economic Development (0.5%), Animal Care (0.5%), . I will take you through each of these items in separate posts. If you feel that you have a better way to spend the money you can post your suggestions on the online Budget suggestion box for the 2011 budget.

I'm going to skip over other services for the time being and focus on the the major areas of spending in the budget.  Convention, Tourism and Culture recieve 9% of the city budget.  The city manages and maintains several facilities used for Conventions here in San Antonio.  Conventions bring a lot of money into the city, not just for government coffers but for private businesses as well, such as restaurants, retail stores, car rental agencies, hotels & motels and tourist attractions.  Facilities used for conventions, sports and entertainment include the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, The Alamo Dome, The Municipal Auditorium and the Lila Cockrell Theater.  Large, modern conventions are the biggest drivers behind the tourism economy in San Antonio. Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News has suggested that San Antonio's lack of a modern sports facility cost the city the Final Four competition.  San Antonio could build a new stadium, but the costs need to be weighed against the benefits.  Using a large arena for occasional sports events may not be very cost effective.  Also where is the funding coming from to build a new facility, probably taxes.

Money spent on Tourism mostly goes toward advertising and the San Antonio Visitors Center.  San Antonio is the 17th most visited city in the US and a very important part of the city's economy.  Tourist attractions are only part of what draws visitors to San Antonio, cultural events also bring in tourists.  San Antonio's art scene is somewhat under the radar, so the city is working to promote the arts more prominently.

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