Mar 4, 2024 - News

Feedback opens for San Antonio city government changes

Photo illustration of the San Antonio city hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of the city of San Antonio

A group of high-profile San Antonians have been hashing out possible changes to city government for two months, and residents have their first chance to give feedback starting this week.

Why it matters: The potential changes to San Antonio's city charter must go before voters to take effect, so public opinion is crucial to success.

Catch up quick: Mayor Ron Nirenberg last fall assembled a charter review commission to explore, among other issues:

  • Whether City Council members should serve longer terms and collect higher pay;
  • Removing the cap on the city manager's pay and tenure;
  • Expanding the number of council districts;
  • And drawing council district boundaries more independently.

State of play: San Antonio's city charter dictates how the city government operates. It can only be amended every two years by a public vote.

Context: City Council members are paid $45,722, equivalent to the then-median household income in San Antonio when it was set in 2015. But the city's median income has since risen to nearly $60,000, leading to concerns that not everyone can afford to hold local public office.

  • The city's rapid growth also means each council member represents far more residents than they used to.
  • City manager Erik Walsh can serve until 2027 under the current tenure limits set in the city charter.

How it works: The charter review commission, which includes some of the city's most influential names in politics and business, began meeting in January.

  • Its meetings are scheduled to wrap up in May, and the City Council could hear its recommendations in June.
  • The council could then call an election for November, placing city government changes on the ballot alongside the presidential contest.

What's next: In-person public comment meetings will be hosted at 5:30pm at the Central Library on the following dates:

  • March 4
  • March 21
  • April 11
  • April 25

Plus, residents can also leave a comment online or call 311 to leave comments by phone.

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