Friday, July 9, 2010

Where do Your Property Taxes Go? Historic Preservation 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.)

The citizens of the city of San Antonio were some of the first to realize the importance of historic preservation.  Check out this blog post at Wandering Off about an historical marker at the Alamo.  The marker memorializes probably one of the first sit-ins, long before the hippies thought of it. In 1893 Adina De Zavala barracaded herself into one of the long barracks on the side of the Alamo for three days to keep it from being demolished. 

The San Antonio Conservation Society, founded in 1924, is one of the oldest such organizations in the U.S.  This group of ladies were instrumental in saving most of the tourist spots we have in SA today, including the River Walk, The Witte Museum, the King William district, the Missions, La Villita and many others. 

With such a strong backing for historic preservation the city needed to come up with ways of protecting these areas.  The Historic Preservation department protects historical, cultural, architectural, and archaeological resources that make San Antonio unique through the creation of historic districts.  There are 26 historic districts in San Antonio that are regulated by the Historic Design and Review Board.  The board only reviews external changes to properties within an historic district, so interior changes are up to the owner, although you do have to apply for permits for any type of construction, fence changes and accessory buildings larger than 100 sq.ft. with the Development Services Department

If you live in an historic district, complying with the Historic Design and Review Board can be a pain, but SA's historic areas greatly contribute to the character and uniqueness of the city.

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