CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Public hearings are underway for Corpus Christi’s fiscal year 2023 budget. The proposed $1.4 billion budget is the largest in the city’s history.
On Wednesday, district two residents took a closer look at what the city is proposing for the 2023 budget.
Several residents spoke up to say what they would rather see prioritized.
Among the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget is money to hire 25 more police officers and 24 new firefighters, $2 million to park amenities and improvements in all five districts, and over $136 million dollars will go towards roads.
Attendees were also refreshed on the 2022 Bond Program which could be approved in city council soon. That includes $20 million to parks, $92.5 million to streets and a total of $125 million.
For district two, they’ll see a piece of the pie for park amenities and almost $2 million going toward shade structures at Cole Park.
Councilman Ben Molina has his eyes set on money for Vision Zero. The program to enhance roads, sidewalks, lighting and signs for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Especially now here, school has just started back up and so there are many children either walking to school or riding their bikes," he said. "And so we want to make sure that they have a safe access.”
But the point of these meetings is to get feedback from the public.
“I think this budget isn’t true to what the council members are saying," said district two resident Joey Gonzales. "They have all of these line items that they want to get passed. And, I don’t think they’re in the best interest of the community members that are in all of the districts.”
Each person spoke up about something important to them, like Deelynn Torres. While millions are dedicated to parks projects, she’d like to see more upkeep with the parks.
She said her soccer clubs helps the city by maintaining Salinas park.
“With all those players, we need to make sure that the facility itself — mainly the fields, are suitable for that,” said Torres who is with Express Soccer Club.
Gonzalez touched on paying more attention at attracting and keeping young people, but also said the city needs to put more resources to helping the homeless.
City Manager Peter Zanoni said there are dozens of nonprofits that are well funded already helping on that front. The city coordinates and strategizes with those organizations.
“I think there needs more to be done," Gonzales said. "And, I think when we’re nice and warm in our homes in December, I think we need to think about our neighbors that are houseless.”
The budget isn’t final until council votes on it in September. Changes can be made.
“We’re dealing with a finite resource, right now," said Molina. "And so, if we’re going to make any changes, we need to step back and think about where that money is going to come from. What other departments or initiatives are we going to pull away from?”
There’s still time to have your opinion heard. District three has a meeting Thursday at Water Utilities Choke Canyon.
District four is Monday at Ethel Eyerly Senior Center.
District five has a meeting Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial High School auditorium.
All begin at 6 p.m. and are streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
A full break down of the budget can be found here.
The presentation of the 2022 Bond Program can be found here.