Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where do Your Property Taxes Go? Municipal Courts in SA

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.
(For links to all items in the CSA budget, see past posts.)

Municipal Courts in Texas only try cases that are punishable by fines, like traffic and parking tickets, public intoxication,  Class C domestic violence cases, and code compliance.  The court can also order a defendent to fulfill their sentence by performing community service.  The fines collected by the courts go back into the city coffers, so the courts are also a money making arm of the city government.

Voters in the state of Texas are not only responsible for choosing the governor and state legislators, we also get to choose judges at all levels including Municipal Courts.  If you are like me, most of the time you have no idea who these people are.  It is also hard to get much information on them.  The League of Women Voters sends out questionaires to all candidates to give voters some idea of their positions, of course this is from the candidates point of view and is a bit of a political advertisement.

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