November Word from the Chairman

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November 20, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone has a great holiday, filled with family, food and football. 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.         
 
SAWS Rate Adjustment
On November 19, 2015, the San Antonio City Council voted unanimously to approve the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) rate adjustment, which will be used to pay for critical infrastructure needs. The North Chamber Board supported the rate adjustment based on the need to diversify our water supply, repair our sewer systems and replace aging infrastructure. I spoke in front of City Council on behalf of the North Chamber, and we were joined by other local chambers and business organizations in supporting this rate adjustment.
 
The projects that the rate adjustment will pay for include: Vista Ridge, a 142-mile pipeline that will bring fresh water to San Antonio from aquifers located in Burleson County; a brackish groundwater desalination project in South Bexar County; sewer system improvements aimed at reducing sewage spills; and other capital improvements required for sustaining, restoring and modernizing facilities and infrastructure that support water supply and delivery.
 
While paying for the diversification of water resources and infrastructure required a rate adjustment that will increase rates for many SAWS customers, SAWS has expanded affordability programs to help shield low-income ratepayers. The new rate structure expands a “lifeline” rate while sending price signals out earlier to high-volume users.
 
Despite a potential rate increase for some customers, SAWS ratepayers will continue to pay the lowest rates of any major city in Texas. SAWS has been a leader in conservation and a good steward of our water. We are confident that the rate adjustment is necessary and that SAWS will effectively manage these important investments to secure San Antonio’s water future. The San Antonio City Council deserves our thanks for all of the work that they put into reviewing this issue and making the right choice for the future of our community.
 
Election Recap
In my September Word from the Chair I noted important issues on the November 3 ballot. I am happy to report that both Proposition 7 and the North East Independent School District (“NEISD”) Bond passed by large margins. The $499.95 million NEISD Bond will be used to pay for a number of needed facilities throughout the district. Proposition 7 will dedicate billions of dollars to highway funding. The North Chamber Board strongly supported both of these proposals.
 
2016 Gala
On behalf of the board of directors and executive committee, I invite you to join us to celebrate the great city we call home as the North SA Chamber presents Gala San Antonio on Saturday, January 30th at the Marriott Rivercenter. The North SA Chamber will dedicate 2016’s spectacular evening to celebrating the past, present and future of our city on the move. Feel the pulse of San Antonio as you enjoy an evening of elevated networking, entertainment and recognition as we welcome our incoming chairman, Gary Hoyack of BDO USA, LLP and the 2016 board of directors. Call or reserve your table online at the event page.
 
Leadership Lab Graduation
On November 20th we celebrated the graduation of the Leadership Lab Class of 2015 at a dinner and ceremony at Oak Hills Country Club. I want to express my appreciation to all of our outstanding staff and volunteers who made this year’s program successful. The North Chamber is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Leadership Lab program. We hope you are considering sending high performing individuals from your company to participate in the upcoming year. Applications are being accepted through December 15, followed by the interview and selection process in January. Download Applications here.
 
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. Our many successes at the North Chamber this year are due to a great staff, hardworking volunteers, collaborative relationships with fellow chambers and the support of our business and institutional members. Happy holidays!