Monday, July 5, 2010

Where do Your Property Taxes Go? Aviation 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 city of San Antonio operates two airports, San Antonio International Airport and Stinson Municipal Airport.  While most flights that the general air traveler will take will go through San Antonio International, Stinson Field caters to operators of light craft, individuals with their own planes and private aviation companies.

Stinson Field is the second oldest airfield in continuous operation in the US.  Not many people know that San Antonio was very important in the early days of aviation.  Stinson was opened in 1915 as a flying school for barnstormers.  In 1909, Fort Sam Houston was the first US Military base to have government owned aircraft and the home of the First Aero Squadron making San Antonio the birthplace of Military Aviation.

Airports are very important to the economic life of a city because many businesses won't open shop in a city unless it has good access to business and economic centers in other cities.  San Antonio's International Airport is sometimes faulted for it's inner city location, making it difficult to expand runways for more air traffic.   The planned expansion of the airport has dealt with this problem by moving the aerospace industrial complex, with its warehouse space, logistics/distribution center and business/office space to Kelly AFB thus freeing up more space for passenger airline traffic.  The airport's inner city location is a major plus for business and leisure travelers who don't want to spend a lot of time getting to their destination.

In the recent past it was actually cheaper to fly from Austin to major destinations but in the past year ticket prices for traveling from SA have dropped, showing that the city is once again in the mainstream of airline travel.

Noise is another problem that goes along with an inner city airport.  Just recently the FAA authorized the city to start the Residential Acoustical Treatment Program.  The city has assigned an Acoustical Treatment Consultant to prioritize neighborhoods that qualify for the program.  Acoustical retrofitting will then begin and continue in a rolling schedule similar to public works projects. If your residence qualifies, you can have your house acoustically treated to lower airplane traffic noise.  In the meantime if you have a problem now fill out the noise complaint form.

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