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At its March 21 meeting, San Marcos City Council discussed the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget and the Youth Programs Standard of Care.

The city's 2023-2024 Fiscal Year budget is still in its preliminary stages. The council voted 7-0 to approve the policy statement that would be the guide to finalizing the budget. Director of finance John Locke discussed changes to the policy statement which included the goal to reach the recommended staffing level for the police and fire departments and to allocate $60,000 for all community events hosted by the city.

Former councilmember and San Marcos resident Maxfield Baker said that the council should consider an equity-based budget because it would help residents have more clarity in where their taxes are going.

“An equity-based budget would address the distrust and misallocation of funds that our community believes happens at every budget session,” Baker said.

Councilmember Alyssa Garza said she agrees with Baker and believes a participatory budget process would engage the community to ensure that they are allowing the public to have a say.

“We are one of the fastest growing entities in the nation, and that fact along with the findings of the recent survey indicated that our neighbors, the folks that elected us, distrust the local government and elected officials, in my opinion, that is more than a sufficient rationale for using a participatory budget,” Garza said.

City Manager Stephanie Reyes said they are looking at ample opportunities to have the public participate in discussions about the budget through the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) projects.

“We also are having our city’s UniverCity that we are doing to try and make sure people know ‘hey it’s a citizen academy if you’re interested in understanding more about your local government there are opportunities to talk with staff and come in and tour facilities’,” Reyes said. “So we are looking at more of those engagement processes.”

For the protection of those in San Marcos who actively participate in youth recreation programs, the city's Parks and Recreation Department has established a number of minimum standards of care. The department is in charge of clarifying the fundamental childcare standards for these activities, which is important as summer is approaching.

The council voted 7-0 to adopt Youth Program Standards of Care which would require all of the program’s staff to meet certain criteria. All potential members must submit to criminal background checks. If the findings of the criminal check show that a candidate has been convicted of specific offenses, according to city officials, they will not be given consideration for employment. Offenses include public indecency and the possession or distribution of illegal substances.

The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the City Council website.

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