For the second straight year, residents of District 9 can choose and vote on local public improvement projects they’d like to see in their neighborhoods.
Up to $1 million is available in the People’s Budget, formerly known as a participatory budget, which allows taxpayers to decide how to spend public funds by way of an online voting process.
“The People’s Budget is an opportunity for you, the residents of District 9, to make your voice heard,” Councilman John Courage said in a message to constituents. “We’re ready to improve on our inaugural run to help produce a process that is wholly by and for the people. A new look and improved structure will help this process reach an even greater number of District 9 residents in 2019.”
To create the 2019 People’s Budget initiative, Courage pulled $25,000 from the district’s City Council Project Fund, $200,000 from its Neighborhood Accessibility and Mobility Program, and $775,000 for pedestrian mobility projects from its allocation in the 2017 bond package.
The project submission form is now open at www.D9PB.org. Residents are encouraged to submit ideas they think will better their community. There have already been several public meetings for the planning phases of the People’s Budget campaign, with committees being formed to review the proposals.
Zack Lyke, District 9 communications director, said they hope to have submissions for projects by the end of January, then have the committees meet and review the proposals in February and March. The online poll to determine which projects are ultimately funded will occur in May or June.
“Now is the time to make your voice heard in one of the largest participatory budgeting processes in the United States,” Courage said in his message.
In 2018, the District 9 office received 44 ideas from residents. Three committees, each tied to one of the separate funding mechanisms and composed of residents, vetted the proposals and narrowed down the projects to be sent to the city staff for cost estimates.
After a few projects were struck because their estimated cost exceeded the entirety of the D9PB budget, all three committees came together to finalize the first-ever D9PB Ballot — 19 projects in all — which were voted on by the residents District 9.
Ultimately, 10 projects were selected for the $1.25 million participatory budget.
The projects included $78,000 to fill a sidewalk gap at West Bitters and Blanco roads and $50,000 to repair stretches of sidewalks from 1955 to 2153 Larkspur Drive. Both of those projects have been completed.
The other projects funded in the 2018 District 9 participatory budget were:
- $301,000 for a turn-lane expansion on Wilderness Oak Road turning left onto Hardy Oak Boulevard
- $305,000 to fill a sidewalk gap on the north side of Huebner Road between Blanco and Battle Oak Street
- $258,000 for 250 feet of a right-turn-only lane as a new lane on northbound Huebner, approaching the Loop 1604 access road
- $5,000 for new patrol bicycles for the San Antonio Police Department’s North San Antonio Fear Free Environment unit (project out for bid)
- $5,000 to help fund projects for area social-service nonprofits, some dealing with the aged, and the upcoming District 9 Senior Center
- $5,000 to financially support SA Pets Alive, Friends of McAllister Park, The San Antonio Humane Society, Friends of Classen-Steubing Ranch Park, and the Hardberger Park Conservancy
- $5,000 to help fund projects for area youth-oriented nonprofits such as YMCA, Camp for Success, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, YWCA, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas
- $5,000 to help fund projects for Operation Homefront and TXServes
Last year, the Encino Park Homeowners Association asked for sidewalks on Encino Rio Street as a project proposal.
“It was on the ballot. However, we did not get enough votes,” said Tim Lamb, board president of the Encino Park Homeowners Association. “Encino Park may be submitting a proposal again for sidewalks, or something else if residents come forward with suggestions.”