LION’S ROAR –FEBRUARY, 2019 – MARCH, 2019
By: Mayor Chris Riley
Happy New Year! As you read this, the 9th Annual TOWN HALL MEETING will have occurred on January 26, 2019, and our citizens will have learned and given input on the following agenda items discussed:
- Reports will be given on: Last year’s Town Hall Meeting; “El Verde by 2020”, the 2007 plan to “green” the city; the City’s Comprehensive Master Plan; Infrastructure and Flood Control; and Red Light Cameras.
- Status of the Bandera Road Working Group, work of city, state and VIA officials on revisioning and remaking Bandera Road.
- Possible Home Rule Charter Amendments in November, 2019. The Charter allows amendment changes within two years of initial passing (November, 2017). Thereafter, any future amendment changes can occur only every four years.
- Progress on Economic & Business Development in the city.
- Citizens To Be Heard.
In the next Lion’s Roar, I will summarize what occurred at this annual meeting. Mark your calendars for quarterly Coffee with the Mayor & Council (April, July, October), scheduled for the 4th Saturday morning from 9am – 11am in the Conference Center. These Coffees are a great way to discuss in detail and to assess the participants’ attitudes on topics brought forth by council. The city’s organizational chart has YOU, the citizens at the top, electing the city council. Staff implements policy direction from council. The Commissions and Boards, appointed by council, fall between the Council and Staff on this chart. They provide recommendations to council. Stay involved – even if you cannot attend council meetings. Council meetings are live-streamed on the city’s website (www.leonvalleytexas.org).
30TH ANNUAL EARTHWISE LIVING DAY
On Saturday, March 2, 2019, from 9:30 – 1:30 pm at the Community and Conference Centers, the oldest annual environmental fair in the county will take place. This is a free family event whose goal is continuing to educate on how to live more sustainably on the planet. There will be dozens of vendors including solar, energy efficiency, chemical free cleaning alternatives, recycled arts and crafts, native plants, and informational booths like CPS, TIGER, SAWS, AAMPO, and VIA. Additionally, elementary, middle and high school choirs will perform music honoring sustainability in the Conference Center. The Tree Advisory Committee and CPS Energy will give away TREES to help meet our city’s goal of planting 10,000 trees by 2020. Come get your free tree. Trees help reduce our city’s carbon footprint by cleaning the air, and provide beauty and shade. They reduce temperatures, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for wildlife.
Special thanks to the Earthwise Living Day Committee Members and Yvonne Acuna, City Liaison, for helping put on this event.
Hazardous Waste: At the November, 2018, Texas Recycles Day, many citizens expressed the desire to have a hazardous waste pick up on this annual day. The City Manager and Public Works Director are looking into a cost effective way to include this service. Meanwhile, Call 1-800-449-7587 – Waste Management At Your Door, for a hazardous pickup at your home. This service will pick up batteries, paint, insecticides, household chemicals, long fluorescent bulbs, but no medicines or electronics. There is no charge and no limit on the number of times you can call for pickups.
SALES TAX & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The City of Leon Valley’s overall sales tax for 2018 was up 5.19 %. This is in spite of the closing down of Seneca and Lebman Shopping Centers, as well as of several chain restaurants along Bandera Road. However, during a random sampling, the state average for sales tax was up 11.9% and the regional average for sales tax was up 5.11% so we can do better. During the 2019 Budget discussions, the majority of the council supported the City Manager’s recommendation to add a Business Relations Director position rather than to hire an Economic Development Director. The Business Relations Director will focus on continuing the business audit, started several years ago, to be completed during 2019. The position will continue to visit each business in the city, to determine if the business has complied with all our city’s regulations. These business reviews have uncovered a number of businesses in Leon Valley paying sales tax to the City of San Antonio. The Seneca and Lebman Shopping Centers were shut down due to these audits revealing unsafe and dangerous conditions. The hiring of an Economic Development Director in place of the Business Relations Director will be re-evaluated by council during the FY 2020 budget.
Currently, the City Manager, along with the Business Relations Director (William Cox) and Special Events Coordinator, Maribel Mendoza, are handling economic development for the city. There is an advisory committee, appointed by council, for Community and Economic Development to review projects brought forth from this team. (We have openings on this committee if you would like to serve).
A new business, Office Furniture Liquidations, has moved into the old Lack’s building on Bandera Road. A new strip center has been approved on Bandera Road, just south of Eckert Road, as well as a new dog rescue facility on Poss Road. The City is partnering with UTSA’s Small Business Development Center to sponsor business breakfasts to invite potential businesses into Leon Valley.
All of these measures will, we hope, generate businesses in Leon Valley that will add to our sales tax base and to our quality of life, by bringing needed and wanted businesses into our community, with connectivity so we can walk rather than drive there. These qualities will be front and center in the planning of transportation of Bandera Road. We also need to consider and discuss how we will survive the construction along Bandera Road estimated to begin in 5-7 years.
The Annual Beautification Awards for landscaping of homes and businesses in our city will take place in May, with awards given out at a city council meeting in June, 2019 . Judges will be from the local Garden Club and San Antonio Gardening Volunteers. The criteria for an award include, that the yard demonstrate low water maintenance through use of native plants, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Also, there is attention to color, use of rocks, mulch and borders, and overall eye catching qualities. We are encouraging everyone to do your part in beautifying our community. It makes our city look better, and adds to our property values in the area.
ANIMAL CONTROL coverage in the city is not available on weekends until the end of March, due to training of one of our officers. If the situation is not a 911 emergency call, please dial (210) 335-6000, Option 1,to report the animal complaint.
The council and I work for you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to leave me a message and I will call you back.