A sitting city councilman was just nominated by his colleagues to serve yet another term on the county’s appraisal district.
Downtown San Antonio City Councilman Roberto Treviño was nominated Thursday evening to serve another term on the Bexar County Appraisal District. He currently serves as vice chair for their board of directors. The board sets the budget for the district and hires the Chief Appraiser – who carries out the legal functions, including setting rates.
This is a fairly routine practice amongst local governments – but it shouldn’t be. The potential for a conflict of interest is a fairly obvious one: the property values the district sets directly influence how much property tax revenue the city receives.
In terms of objectivity, it is best to keep governmental interests as divorced as possible – but that’s hardly the case here, as Treviño has been a consistent advocate for higher taxes and fees. In fact, in the same council meeting, he pushed an increase to the stormwater utility fee as well as an increase of the parking rate at the Alamodome.
Most notably, however, is that his district is the predominant beneficiary of the massive $850 million transportation bond passed last November – by a staggering amount. Officially, each council district was given a small portion for district projects – ranging from $36 million to around $55 million – and the rest was dedicated to ‘citywide’ projects, totaling around $390 million. The overwhelming majority of those ‘citywide’ projects are located within Treviño’s downtown district.
Factoring it all in, District 1 will receive roughly $225 million of the 2017 bond funds – more than double the amount to be spent in District 2 (the second-highest beneficiary) and more than five times the amount to be spent in District 7.
Treviño’s isn’t the only questionable appointment on the board, though. Also serving is Sergio “Chico” Rodriguez, who serves as Commissioner for Bexar County Precinct 1. Just a couple months ago, Rodriguez seconded a successful motion to give himself and his commissioner colleagues a pay raise of four percent to their six-figure salary.
Unfortunately, local governments all over the state engage in this kind of incestuous behavior of shuffling sympathetic figureheads around to secure their revenue stream at the expense of taxpayers.
And people wonder why their taxes continue to skyrocket.