Budget Approval will increase program funding to $2.2 million

Originally published by KSAT12 News

The 2017 city budget is in place after City Council members voted unanimously to pass it Thursday morning.

Some of the items on the $2.5 billion city budget include a starting salary increase for civilian city employees from $13 an hour to $13.75 an hour, street and sidewalk improvements, more officers out on the street, $1.1 million in funding to implement the city’s SA Tomorrow plan and Spanish translation services for the city’s agendas and meetings.

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“Our new fiscal year starts October 1,” said San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Scully. “The budget focuses on street and sidewalk construction and police officers to support neighborhoods.”

“I’m absolutely pleased with all the things that we had coming,” said District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino. “Project Quest being a line item, the pay increase. Lots of great, beneficial programs.”

Project Quest is a workforce development program that focuses on people with low-income jobs, and through training, connects them with higher-demand, higher-paying jobs.

“It’s a great victory for us,” said Project Quest Executive Director Sister Pearl Ceasar. “It secures that people who are in low-income jobs will have the funding they need to get into higher-paying jobs.”

Ceasar said they have helped people who came into the program making on average $9,000 a year, and that after going through the program, those people have secured jobs making about $42,000 a year.

“Over the 24 years, they have funded us from $1.2 million to $3 million, so every year it fluctuates,” Ceasar said. “That’s why we were asking to be a line item, so we can plan from year to year to year.”

The line item had the support of most council members, including District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.

“We know that workforce training is really the way to advance your career and to increase those salaries, so having programs like Project Quest will stabilize the community, improve their salaries,” Gonzales said.

Ceasar said $2.2 million will go to Project Quest this year. She said she’s hoping the funding will stay at that amount in the future, or even go up to $2.5 million.