CONTACT: Amador Salazar, 210.207.0960
SAN ANTONIO (04 February 2022) – City Council yesterday approved a spending framework for the federal government’s remaining $212.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and remaining balances from the city’s Recovery and Resilience Program . District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo said the following:
“The pandemic has exacerbated and amplified the many inequalities that are ingrained in the fabric of San Antonio, so it’s a relief to see many vital initiatives funded after today’s vote. City Council can now look to upcoming board committee discussions as we focus on how best to spend those recovery dollars.
Under the current package, $50 million has been secured for public health measures that will continue to protect our communities against the pandemic, $10 million for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) to continue to help those at risk of losing their homes, $10 million to tackle our city’s failing streets, $31 million to support small businesses, $8.4 million for digital inclusion and literacy to help us bridge our digital divide, $10 million for youth services, $5 million for seniors services, $5 million for our arts community, and $10 million for compensation/benefits benefits and retention of our city’s employees who have managed to keep our city running in the face of a deadly pandemic.
During Council discussion yesterday, I introduced a motion to distribute $10 million in bonuses directly to city employees as soon as ARPA funding becomes available in June. Setting a deadline in June would give city employees the assurance that they will finally be compensated after two years of risking their lives to keep the city running, and it would have given the employee management committee * time to provide feedback to the City Manager on the employee payment structure. The amendment included an option for employees on how to receive their compensation through direct deposit or a pre-tax account like a flexible spending account or health savings account.
Although the motion ultimately failed, I would like to commend my Board colleagues – Bravo, McKee-Rodriguez and Sandoval – for supporting my motion, which reflected the demands of our local union, the American Federation of State, County Employees and Municipalities (AFSCME) Local 2021. It will be important to watch this process closely to ensure workers are finally and fairly compensated for serving San Antonio and its people with bravery and professionalism.
*The Employee Management Committee (EMC) was created by ordinance in August 2004 to provide a structured communication process by which the City and its employees can discuss issues relating to wages, hours of work and other conditions employment.