Skip to content

Dallas City Council Approves First Reading Of $4.51 Billion Annual Budget

This represents the investments for the first year of the city of Dallas’ biennial budget
Image: ShutterOK | Shutterstock

On September 7, the Dallas City Council approved the first reading of the first year of the city of Dallas' proposed biennial budget. In preparation for the second reading on September 21, council members spent five hours discussing proposed amendments to the budget, as reported by Candy’s Dirt.

The budget was planned according to eight strategic priorities, including economic development, environment and sustainability, housing and homelessness solutions, public safety, workforce, education and equity, and more.

According to a statement by Dallas’ city manager, T.C. Broadnax, the general fund portion of the budget is $172 million more than last year, representing an 11% increase in funding which will allow the city to make important investments for Dallas residents. For example, this budget includes a property tax relief by decreasing the property tax rate from 77.33¢ to 74.58¢ per $100 valuation while increasing the over 65 and disabled exemption from $107,000 to $115,500.

Two highlighted aspects of the budget are investments in safety and equity. In mayor Eric Johnson’s state of the city address in November 2021, one of his priorities concerned safety issues in Dallas city. “There are elements of equity that are integrated and overlap throughout the various strategic priorities,” reads the executive summary of the budget. “Equity is not compartmentalized in one specific department but embedded throughout City departments.” 

This is particularly pressing when safety and community issues overlap. For example, earlier this year, the Dallas Morning News reported that activists from the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club prevented the city of Dallas from moving a homeless camp. 

If you look at the budget’s initiatives for housing and homelessness it looks like this has become a concern for the city:

Launch a cross-departmental Homeless Action Response Team (HART) to deliver immediate interventions to address safety concerns connected to homeless encampments.

House over 2,700 individuals by fall 2023 through the Dallas R.E.A.L. Time Rapid Rehousing (DRTRR) initiative which is an ongoing public-private collaboration.

Protect the health, safety, and welfare of unhoused residents during seasonal weather events.

Establish an emerging developers fund that provides small businesses and charitable or faith-based organizations seed money to advance affordable housing.

Develop and preserve mixed-income housing through a racial equity lens, leveraging funds from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and new revenue streams generated.

The public safety initiatives also show an emphasis on strengthening law enforcement:

Invest in the brave individuals that keep Dallas safe by providing market-based compensation in accordance with the anticipated Meet and Confer Agreement. 

Keep Dallas safe by hiring 250 police officers and offering incentives to retain more tenured officers nearing retirement. 

Respond to the emergency medical needs throughout the city by adding one new advanced life support unit and converting five peak-demand units to the new single function paramedic program. 

Equip first responders with the tools necessary to protect the community and keep themselves safe, including radios, tasers, squad cars, fire apparatus, ambulances, and technology. 

Create a night detail team to educate, monitor, and inspect venues in the city’s entertainment zones during their peak hours of operation. 

According to the official statement, the city manager’s proposed budget intends to give the city the resources needed to face complex issues by making investments that reflect the city’s commitment to pursue clear plans and evidence-based strategies to improve the city government. 

In case you missed it, here's Local Profile's report on Dallas' first economic development corporation board.