With San Antonio expecting an average of 1.2 million more residents in the coming years, Mayor Ivy Taylor is preparing with a proposed $850 million bond package.
Leading the team to determine the projects best suited for the funds that will not raise property taxes are Eddie Aldrete, senior vice president at IBC Bank; Carri Baker, chief of operations of Linebarger Blair & Sampson, LLP and Darryl Byrd, co-chair of SA Tomorrow.
“We have a historic opportunity to invest in citizen-led projects in that vision of SA2020 to the transportation sustainability and comprehensive plan we have engaged in the last 18 months,” said Mayor Taylor.
Initial meetings will take place in August to discuss possible allocations for the money with the formal vote to take place on May 12 of next year. Among the key projects include transportation infrastructure and the construction of public facilities like libraries and fire stations.
The bond program in question runs from 2017 to 2022 and will squarely be focused on the basic infrastructure improvements. While many of these investments will not be ostentatious in nature, they will provide for the population boom in the seventh largest city in the United States.
“It’s not until you serve on one of these committees that you understand the needs of the city coming from neighborhoods to facilities to basic infrastructure and public safety,” said Aldrete. “The reason this is so important is because we can take care of some of our current needs and plan for over 1 million people to come. What drives this is the public input.”
While local citizens are encouraged to participate in the process, the work necessary to pare down the long list of priorities is a job in itself. Aldrete is no stranger to such rigors as he served as co-chair for the Facilities & Community Initiatives Committee Bond for the 2012-2017 Program.
Baker, also a former co-chair of the 2012 bond campaign, is keenly aware that maintaining the quality of life is far from a spectator sport. The Texas A&M Alumna is a key executive and chief operations officer for Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, Attorneys at Law. You can say fiscal organization is second nature to her.
“We need to make those smart, strategic investments that help grow our city and continue to meet the needs of our citizens. That’s why citizen’s input is so important and that’s why we will nave transparency throughout this process,” Baker said.
Byrd also has experience working with the city on long-term infrastructure investment as co-chair of SA Tomorrow. The three-pronged approach by the community initiative includes a multi-modal transportation plan, a sustainability plan and a comprehensive urban design policy.
“This is the first time in the history of the city that we get to make the largest public investment into infrastructure in the context of what thousands of San Antonians have asked for. I look forward to meeting more individuals who want to support the process,” concluded Byrd.