June Word from the Chairman

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June 22, 2015
On behalf of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, our Board of Directors, staff and countless volunteers, thank you for your membership and involvement. I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer. With the end of the political season, we have an opportunity to look back on what has been accomplished, and to look forward to some exciting programs.
 
Legislative Update

The 84th session of the Texas Legislature has ended, and we are pleased to see that many of the issues that we fought for have passed. In the area of transportation, the North San Antonio Chamber supported: 1) the passage of new, long-term, sustainable funding sources for transportation and infrastructure; and 2) the dedication of existing revenue generated from taxes, fees or receipts related to transportation to the maintenance, improvement and expansion of roads, rail and public transportation. In Senate Joint Resolution 5, Texas House and Senate leaders came to an agreement to dedicate $2.5 billion in general sales tax revenue to the highway fund if the voters approve it at the November 3, 2015 election. Additionally, diversions from our highway funding have been stopped, which will set aside another $600 million annually to meet our statewide transportation needs. 
 
The North Chamber endorsed a Tuition Revenue Bond bill for capital construction projects for public universities. During the session, legislature approved the issuance of $3.1 billion in bonds to pay for new higher education buildings statewide, including about $200 million for construction at UTSA, Texas A&M San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
 
Tuition revenue bonds and highway funding are important because they directly impact the business community in San Antonio by creating jobs and making us a more attractive market for companies seeking to relocate or expand.
 
New Mayor
On June 13, 2015, voters in San Antonio elected Mayor Ivy Taylor in a tight race with former Senator Leticia Van De Putte. Mayor Taylor had served as interim mayor since Julian Castro was appointed U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development last July. Mayor Taylor received 50,659 votes to Senator Van De Putte’s 47,328 votes, which was about 52%-48% of the 96,277 total votes cast in the runoff. Mayor Taylor will serve a two (2) year term, and is eligible for reelection in three (3) more terms.
 
On June 17, we hosted our annual Mayor’s Vision at the Omni Hotel where Mayor Taylor addressed the business community for the first time since being elected in the runoff. I want to thank our Title Sponsor, Joeris General Contractors, and our VIP Reception sponsors, Alterman and Jacobs, for their support. In her comments to the sold-out event, Mayor Taylor noted that “San Antonio is a fast-growing, vibrant, progressive city with a storied past and a clear path to continued success — and we are in a great position to tell our story to the rest of the country and to the world.” She also highlighted some of the City Council accomplishments under her leadership over the last year, including:
 
  • Unanimous support of the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project, ensuring access to an abundant and affordable water supply.
  • Approval of the Weston Urban-Frost P3 to provide a significant boost to downtown development and our urban core, including class A office space and a signature building for the downtown skyline.
  • Executing an agreement with the State of Texas to collaborate on the restoration of the Alamo and reinvention of Alamo Plaza, and secured $31 million in funding.
  • Developing a multimodal transportation plan that is integrated with our SA Tomorrow Comprehensive and Sustainability planning efforts.
  • Passing substantial expansions of the aquifer protection and urban creekway programs, including $10 million for urban aquifer protection demonstration projects and $35 million to help create creekways that do for the rest of city what the Mission and Museum Reaches have done for neighborhoods in the urban core.
  • Creating a charter commission to address governance issues, including City Council pay.
  • Cosponsoring the City-County Public Health and Workforce Development Summits and creating the SA Talent for Economic Competitiveness industry oversight board to ensure that our human infrastructure receives the same level of attention as our natural resources and capital infrastructure.
  • Creating the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to help City government function more efficiently, whether that is in dealing with a discrimination complaint or finding the best contractor for a City opportunity.
  • Hosting the first Housing Policy Conference in almost a decade to define what is needed for San Antonio neighborhoods.

Upcoming Programs
We have a number of great programs coming up. Our Small Business Leaders Awards dinner will be on July 9 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country. Awards will be presented in the following categories: Small Business Leader of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Business Achievement, Community Service, Employee Relations, New Business, Business Innovation, Conquering Adversity, Veteran-Owned, Non-Profit, Franchisee & Mentorship.
 
On September 3 we will hold our annual Enterprising Women's Conference. This is an opportunity to engage in an environment with informational speakers and robust networking. The program features a leadership and professional development conference, with recognition of community leaders and business/organization through the presentation of the prestigious ATHENA Young Professional Award, ATHENA Leadership Award and ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award.
 
Our 13th Annual Salute to Excellence features the presentation of the Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Jr. Salute to Excellence Award to Robin and Ernesto Ancira for their contributions in the areas of community contribution, business achievement, leadership and philanthropy. The Salute to Excellence will be at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort on September 23. 
 
Stay Involved
We offer many opportunities for you to join us at programs that will help you develop professionally, expand your business connections and learn about the latest local and national economic trends. We are your voice, and your participation makes the North Chamber a more effective advocate for our business members. Thank you for helping us keep Bexar County strong.