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City Faces Financial Challenges in 2014

  San Antonio City Council marked its final meeting of 2013 by looking ahead to the major challenges it will face in 2014, 1200 WAOI news reports.

 

  City Budget Director Maria Villagomez told council that, despite $13.6 million more flowing into the city's treasury, thanks to increased revenues from property taxes, sales taxes, and CPS Energy revenues, the city is still planning on a $30 million shortfall when the current fiscal year ends in September of 2014.

 

  "That does not include expenses for the 2015 police and fire collective bargaining agreement that we are going to be negotiating in 2014," Villagomez said.

 

  The current collective bargaining agreement covering the city's police and fire departments expires this coming fall.  Villagomez says the projected shortfall also does not include any costs of raises for civilian city workers.

 

  Villagomez also warned council that the city's reserves have been a concern raised by the bonding agencies which have consistently given the city the top AAA rating.

 

  "Although this ending balance is better than we had anticipated, it is now a challenge for the city to maintain its current bond rating," she said.

 

  She said Standard & Poors is currently examining the city's bond rating, and one of the issues it is looking at is the reserve fund balance.

 

  City officials have expressed concerns about legacy costs, including the costs of retirement and health care benefits paid to uniformed employees.  A special committee is currently meeting to discuss those issues and is expected to release a series of recommendations in February.

 

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