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Council Passes Budget, Evades Domestic Violence Response Team Cuts

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In a meeting this morning, San Antonio City Council voted to adopt a FY 2014 budget that prevents cutting positions with the Crisis Response Team, a SAPD domestic violence program, and restores proposed cuts to library and parks by adding an additional fee to CPS Energy bills.

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During a community budget hearing last month, residents listed Crisis Response Teams as an area of the budget they didn't want to see cut. The budget, adopted today, restores those proposed reductions. Photo by Mary Tuma

The $1 added to monthly environmental fees is expected to generate $6.4 million in parks maintenance, allowing money in the general revenue fund to free up and go toward preventing slashes to library hours while also helping avert the loss of 10 civilian members of the CRT.

The initial plan to scale back half of the 20 caseworker spots in the program, which monitors and intervenes in domestic violence cases, received pushback from Mayor Julian Castro and local groups dedicated to ending violence, as the Current previously reported.

Castro said crafting the $2.3 billion budget was more challenging than in recent years but that the final plan was “grounded in the aspirations of the community.”

Councilmembers Ron Nirenberg, Cartlon Soules and Elisa Chan voted against the environmental charge, which came up as a separate vote per a motion called by Nirenberg, and regarded the increase as a tax hike disguised as a fee. Chan and Soules opposed the overall operating budget, as well.

More on the budget vote in next week’s issue of the Current.

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