Bexar County Commissioners Court on Oct. 11 approved several actions meant to boost funding for local physical and behavioral health care.
Commissioners allocated $75 million in American Rescue Plan Act money, with $40 million to help support a county public health care facility in south San Antonio and $25 million to fund 130 county mental health beds and facilities.
Also, $5 million is going to enhance mental health services for middle and high school students and their families in San Antonio ISD. The remaining allocated COVID-19 relief funding will help local agency Lifetime Recovery to secure 60 beds to treat women for substance abuse.
In a separate action, commissioners approved using $226,000 in ARPA funds to demonstrate local court efficiency in addressing domestic violence cases.
Additionally, commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a $300,000 grant, which will assist the local Classical Music Institute to replace the now-dissolved San Antonio Symphony as the orchestra for resident arts companies at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Members of the newly formed San Antonio Philharmonic, which includes former symphony members, as well as some local labor leaders questioned CMI’s grant proposal, claiming the CMI—a local nonprofit—is anti-union. But CMI officials disputed those claims.
County Judge Nelson Wolff said he did not want the perception to be that commissioners were favoring one group against the other, adding that the county received only one funding request from CMI and not from the philharmonic.
Wolff then urged the SAP to make a formal funding request, saying the San Antonio arts community needs help from all organizations, such as CMI and the philharmonic.
Several local classical music and arts groups have discussed collaboration and other methods of filling the void produced by the closure of the San Antonio Symphony.