Weekly Report

EastPoint Shine
On Saturday, March 14 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. the Office of EastPoint and Choice Neighborhoods, in collaboration with the City’s Volunteer Division, will host the “EastPoint Shine” event, which is a paint-a-thon to paint 15-20 homes throughout the Choice footprint. The houses to be painted will be prioritized for elderly, disabled, veterans and low-income. Each house selected will be fully prepped by a San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) contractor and ready for a paint facelift by the volunteers. All paint, brushes, and tools needed to paint the exterior of the home will be provided by the San Antonio Housing Authority.

Consolidated Plan
The Department of Planning and Community Development in conjunction with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) is developing the City’s Five Year Consolidated Plan which assesses affordable housing, community development, and current market conditions in order to establish funding priorities and a framework for the utilization of an estimated $80M in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) formula grant resources including CDBG Home. DPCD staff has developed a citizen engagement strategy which includes both a paper and online community survey, consultation with external stakeholders, and four public hearings at public hearings across the four quadrants of the city.

Hemisfair Water Street P3
Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC) initiated a P3 process at the Water Street site, adjacent to the Yanaguana Garden and playground. After reviewing five proposals, the selection committee selected AREA Real Estate, which proposed a mixed-use project with 163 units, 3,200 square feet of restaurant/retail space and a 418 space structured parking garage. The project includes 40% of the units for workforce housing along with a projected annual revenue stream to Hemisfair of approximately $390,000.

Valero Alamo Bowl Economic Impact
According to a survey conducted by Strategic Marketing Services and SportsEconomics, on behalf of the Valero Alamo Bowl, the 2015 Valero Alamo Bowl generated $45.9 million in total economic impact. This figure is based on direct visitor spending of $26.5 million in San Antonio. The 49,580 out-of-town visitors attending the bowl game between #11 Kansas State and #14 UCLA was the third highest total in Valero Alamo Bowl history and the most visitors since 2007.

College Football Playoff National Championship Game – Request for Proposal
On February 9, the Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities (CSEF) received the Request for Proposal for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game (2018-2020 games). The RFP is due on May 27, with an anticipated announcement of the winning host communities in October.

Digital Wallpaper at the Convention Center
Last month, the Library installed a Digital Wallpaper at the Convention Center. The wall is at the south end of the Hall of Statues on the concourse level. The content is geared to locals and out of town conventioneers.

Fitness in the Park – La Villita
In partnership with Parks and Recreation, the Department of Culture and Creative Development (DCCD) began hosting Fitness in the Park activities at La Villita. Two free 30-minute low impact classes will be offered every Tuesday through March in Plaza Juarez starting at 1:30 p.m.

Senior Nutrition Produce Market
On January 30, the Senior Nutrition Program and Selrico held a produce market at the Doris Griffin One Stop Senior. Over 300 seniors attended and purchased over 2,100 pounds of seasonal produce for a minimal cost of $1.00 per basket. This event experienced more than double the amount purchased at the first Produce Market held on November 14, 2014. The produce is supplied by River City produce. DHS and Selrico are expanding the program to offer two produce markets a month at various senior centers throughout the city.

City Employee Wellness Tours
The City employee Fall Wellness Tour was conducted October 20 – November 19 at 38 City department locations. A total of 2,357 flu shots were administered to civilian and uniformed employees. In addition, 1,689 civilian employees elected to participate in biometric screenings which included height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol, glucose, body fat analysis and educational health literature.

Aviation Update

The San Antonio International Airport was recognized in the 2014 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards as Best Improved Airport in North America by Airports Council International. The award represents passengers’ views on 34 key service indicators.  Also, in 2014, the San Antonio International airport experienced increased passenger traffic totaling 8.37 million passengers, an increase of 1.4% from 2013.  In addition to increase in passenger traffic, other air service enhancements were made including:

  • Volaris and Interjet each began twice weekly non-stop flights (for a total of four) to Guadalajara, Mexico. Due to strong demand in 2014, Volaris increased the weekly frequencies from two to three. The airport now has service to four of Mexico’s major business markets (Mexico City, Toluca, Monterrey and Guadalajara). The Monterrey route also saw increased air services. VivaAerobus re-entered the market and began four weekly non-stop flights. Interjet recently announced that it is also increasing non-stop frequencies from twice a week to six times a week.
  • On October 2, 2014, American Airlines began twice daily non-stop service to Los Angeles, California.

Further complimenting the aviation services experienced in 2014, additional air services are scheduled with American Airlines offering non-stop service to Miami, Florida beginning in March 2015.  Southwest Airlines will begin daily non-stop flights to New Orleans and daily non-stop service to Cancun, Mexico. Delta recently announced it will begin Los Angeles non-stop service with two daily frequencies in April. This route is also served by Southwest and United Airlines.

Finally, two major customer service projects will begin construction this year. Next month, the Transportation and Capital Improvements Department is expected to bring forward a City Council action to award contracts for the renovation and expansion of the Customs facility in Terminal A. Once completed, the Customs and Border Protection agency will be able to process up to 800 international passengers during peak hours. The expansion will help support our growing international service. The second project is the new consolidated rental car facility which will begin construction this summer. Once completed, visitors to San Antonio will be able to pick up their luggage at baggage claim and walk across the sky bridge to the new facility to pick up their rental car. The facility will also house public parking spaces for our local residents. A briefing to update the City Council on the rental car facility is scheduled for this spring.

 

8th Annual City Manager’s Step Up To Wellness 5K Run/Walk

In support of the City’s continued focus on Wellness, the 8th Annual City Manager’s Step Up To Wellness 5K Walk & Run, Will take place on Saturday, February 28 at SeaWorld San Antonio.

The City-hosted event is free of charge to all CITY employees and provides an opportunity to engage in healthy physical activity in a family-friendly atmosphere.  Employees’ family members can also participate in the event for a discounted rate of $7.00.  Additionally, the event is open to the public and a registration link is available here. The fee includes race entry, race packet, and customized t-shirt.  All participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy SeaWorld on race day for a discounted price.

The following health-related vendors will be in attendance at the event:

  • Metro Health’s “Por Vida” program
  • Parks & Recreation’s “Mobil Fit” unit
  •  Humana Vitality for seniors participating in City’s Advantage Plan

As of this week, we have over 2,300 participants surpassing last year’s attendance of 2,200

We look forward to an exciting event. For more information, contact Athlete Guild at 877-806-3987 or info@athleteguild.com

Collective Barraging Update

I am providing another update on the City’s collective bargaining efforts with the public safety unions.

On December 1, 2014, Mayor Ivy R. Taylor called for independent third-party reviews of the financial impact of the most recent collective bargaining proposals made by the City and the police union, as well as an analysis of the legislative changes proposed by the Fire and Police Pension Fund. The City contracted with three independent national firms to conduct the reviews, and the firms presented their findings to the Mayor and City Council on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. The three professional firms included Public Financial Management (PFM), Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company (GRS), and Coastal Securities.

The analysis and findings of these three national firms strongly affirmed the City’s financial practices and projections, and stressed the connection between these financial practices and the City’s excellent credit rating. They confirmed to the City Council that the City had correctly calculated the costs of both City and police union wage and healthcare proposals.  Independent reviews verified that the proposal made by the police union would cost $50 million more than the City’s proposal, and would effectively “crowd out” spending for non-public safety services.  If the police union proposal were to be accepted, the City would have to make significant reductions to other core services, such as streets, parks and libraries or significantly increase property tax revenue.

The independent analysis provided to the City Council also evaluated the long-term costs associated with the proposed legislative changes made by the Fire and Police Pension Fund. These proposed changes could save money in the short-term, but would double the number of years it would take the City to eliminate the current unfunded pension liability. The analysis concluded that extending the number of years needed to pay the unfunded pension liability would cost the City an additional $172 million.

During the January 28th presentation, the independent firms communicated that San Antonio is the only city with a population of over one million with the highest credit rating possible, and that prudent financial management should be a cornerstone in the ongoing labor negotiations and in the evaluation of any uniform pension legislative changes.

Following the presentations, the City Council made it clear that contract negotiations should resume immediately. The City has proposed several meeting dates in February to resume collective bargaining. The police union has agreed to return to negotiate on February 20 and 26, 2015.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that public safety expenses are growing faster than general fund budget revenues. One of the escalating cost drivers to the general fund budget is public safety healthcare. The police union has proposed paying toward healthcare, but only in conjunction with salary increases far in excess of any annual healthcare premiums. The City has proposed a combination of employee healthcare premiums with modest wage increases keeping the public safety budget within the policy guidelines established by City Council and at no more than two-thirds of general fund spending.

We look forward to returning to negotiations with the police union to reach an agreement that is fair to our public safety uniform employees and is affordable to the residents of San Antonio.

Pre-K 4 SA Update

The Pre-K 4 SA program is a high quality early childhood program is funded by 1/8₵ sales tax that was approved by the voters in November 2012.

The Pre-K 4 SA business model includes:

1.  Four education center facilities serving 500 students each at full capacity with full day Pre-K instruction.

2.  Competitive grant awards to local independent school districts and other education providers to educate 1,700 children annually beginning in 2016.

3. Professional development for Pre-K through 3rd grade educators.

Pre-K 4 SA is governed by an eleven-member board of directors appointed the by City Council.  Our business model is one of partnering with seven independent school districts where we receive their four-year olds and state funding and in return we educate the students and provide their educators with professional development. The seven partnering school districts account for over 90% of all four-year old pre-k students in our area.

Pre-K 4 SA places a strong emphasis on family engagement in early education. Each Pre-K 4 SA education center has a staffed family resource center that provides families access to a wide range of resources including educational workshops, family oriented events, and individual family counseling.

Another important feature of our program includes a high quality after school enrichment program from 3:00pm to 6:00pm for working parents.

Finally our program offers free bus service through student bus depots strategically located throughout the city.

To gauge success in development and implementation of the program, Pre-K 4 SA has secured an eight-year agreement with Rutgers university’s Edvance research center to conduct an independent evaluation of our program on an annual basis. I will highlight their first year assessments shortly.

Student performance from year 1 (august 2013 to may 2014)
Pre-K 4 SA began in august 2013 with two education centers each serving 350 students for a total of 700 students. Pre-K 4 SA’s independent evaluator (Edvance) found that the students entering Pre-K 4 SA fell below the national standard for growth levels in cognitive, literacy, math, oral language, physical, and socio-emotional behavioral skills for their age.

However, after a year one evaluation of our program, not only did our students get up to speed, they passed a national peer group.

The year 1 evaluation found that students exceeded a nationally sample of students in cognitive, literacy, and math skills, and met the standard in oral language, physical skills, and socio-emotional behavior.

Student enrollment
Last week on February 2, Pre-K 4 SA began accepting applications for the new school year that will begin this august. The early application period will close on April 5 and on April 8  1,700 students will be selected by a lottery, we will also maintain a wait list.

As of February 12, the program had received over 1,000 student applications.

We expect to service 80% of students free of charge and 20% through sliding scale tuition payments this coming year.

Our learning environment at our four education centers are appropriate, and while it may appear our students are having fun, our students are focused on learning from our high quality early childhood curriculum.

Curriculum at the Pre-K 4 SA centers

Let me give you some examples of the curriculum that our students learned last month in three areas, math, science, and literacy.

Math focus: student learned counting, geometry, measurement, and patterns. Students created shapes, worked to recognize heights and lengths of people and objects, and sorted similar objects and patterns.

Science focus: students focused on physical science and the motion of objects and sources of energy. They learned about the characteristics of organisms, and life cycles. Students compared and discussed earth materials and their properties.

Literacy focus: students engaged in pre-reading and reading related activities; they combined syllables into words, and recognized letter sounds.

Upcoming council actions
There are two upcoming actions that city council will address:

According to the Pre-K 4 SA bylaws, the Pre-K board adopts the budget and the city council approves the board adopted budget. The current fiscal year budget is $32 million. The fiscal year for the program begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 each year. The board will consider adopting the new fiscal year budget in April and city council will consider approving the budget in may.

The Pre-K board is appointed by city council and serve staggered two-year terms. As a result odd numbered city council district positions and the Pre-K 4 SA board chair appointments will be considered by city council this year in april. The city council governance committee will select appointments in march, and city council will approve the appointments in April.

The Pre-k 4 SA program has had many successes in its early years. Pre-K 4 SA looks forward to continue providing a high quality early childhood learning program for the children of San Antonio.

Parks Technology Update

We’re excited to announce a new feature on the city’s website that makes it easier for residents to find and enjoy San Antonio Parks and Greenway Trails.  The Parks Department has worked with ITSD to create a “Find A Park” feature that will appear on the Parks and Recreation Department’s homepage as a colorful map icon.

Residents can search a map of the city to find a park by name, ZIP code, Council district, or near their address.  The map also allows residents to search for specific amenities such as greenway trailheads, pavilions, swimming pools, picnic areas, playgrounds, and many more.

City staff have been trained on how to use this new feature, in order to assist residents with questions.  The “Find A Park” tool launched just a few weeks ago, and is being promoted on the City’s homepage, the Parks Department’s main page, through social media, and in E-mail newsletters.

We encourage you to check out the “Find A Park” tool and discover all that our Parks system has to offer.

World Stem Cell Summit

The City is hosting the 10th annual World Stem Cell Summit (WSC) this week – it started Tuesday, December 2nd and ends tomorrow Friday December 4th. 1,400 attendees from 40 countries are expected to attend.  The Summit is the world’s largest meeting of researchers, scientists, clinicians, regulators, patient advocates and investors engaged in the field of stem cell research and therapies.

The field of regenerative medicine is key to growth in the City’s bioscience industry and the City is poised to capitalize on this opportunity by partnering with local companies like StemBioSys, Inc. (an San Antonio Economic Development Council (SAEDC) investment) and BioBridge Global, as well as research being conducted at Fort Sam Houston in the critical care arena.

The City and the SAEDC played a vital role in persuading the Stem Cell Summit to choose San Antonio for its annual conference. However, this was a community-wide effort that included support from partners like BioMed SA, UTSA and Texas Research & Technology Foundation.

In addition, there was substantial private sector support from local entities like StemBioSys, Incell and Targeted Technology.  Major sponsors of the WSC Summit include the UT Health Science Center, BioBridge Global, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Southwest Research Institute.

For this year’s conference, the SAEDC worked with Summit organizers to hold its first Capital Markets Conference bringing stem cell companies and investors together for presentations and funding discussions. Three local companies will be presenting.

The City, SAEDF and Texans for Stem Cell Research hosted a welcome event on Tuesday evening at the Convention Center and last night at the Gala Dinner, Mayor Taylor presented a Proclamation to Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute.

I believe the community’s impressive support led by a Host Committee chaired by Dr. Steve Davis and Linda Myers of BioBridge Global will convince the WSC Summit to return time and again to San Antonio.

Boarding Homes Update

The boarding home ordinance was approved by City Council on December 13, 2012, and went into effect on March 1, 2013.  The boarding homes ordinance is working as intended to ensure the safety of this vulnerable resident population

  •  2,173 properties investigated by the boarding home team since March 2013
  • 120 elderly and/or disabled residents are currently in safer living conditions due to the effectiveness of this ordinance
  • 110 Boarding homes identified – 21 still in operation, 89 have shut down
  • 16 currently in violation notice
  • 2 currently legally permitted
  • 3 more expected to complete permitting in December 2014
  • 7 emergency closures by the City due to major life safety violations
  • 4 shut down by City filing District Court Cases

The cost of installing sprinkler systems has reportedly decreased over the past year and therefore, more boarding homes are expected to soon be permitted this year.   Four properties are currently installing fire sprinkler systems with City permits.
The City will continue to enforce the ordinance through the civil and criminal court process to gain compliance or closure of each of the remaining boarding homes still operating illegally.

Express News Editorial

Please find a link to an editorial published today from the Express News regarding the City’s efforts on Collective Bargaining.

Garbage & Recycling Collection for Holiday Season

As we begin the holiday season, the City wants to remind residents that their recycling, organics recycling, and garbage collection will be affected during thanksgiving and the winter holiday season.

The collection schedule changes for the following four holidays:

  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

For each of these holidays, the holiday collection day will move to either the day before the holiday or the day after the holiday.  Please visit the Solid Waste website at for a complete holiday schedule.