Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax unveiled a proposed $4.35B city budget on Saturday, which outlines funding for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The budget outlines how taxpayer dollars and federal funds will be allocated, putting a heavy emphasis on public safety.
"In many ways, I do believe that this is one of the most impactful budgets that I've recommended to the Dallas City Council," Broadnax said.
The lofty proposal is larger than the $3.85M proposal adopted last September. Following a huge boost in property and sales tax revenue, and coupled with a faster economic turnaround from the pandemic shutdown, Dallas looks to fortify itself further under Broadnax's new plan.
"I am happy to say that the economy particularly here in the city of Dallas has recovered faster than expected," Broadnax said. "The federal funds that have been provided to the city are making it possible for us to recommend a budget that meets the many needs of residents."
Dallas is set to receive a total of $355M in federal stimulus money and other grants this year and next. Broadnax mentioned that these federal funds provide the city with the financial flexibility to address other areas, and cited it as a key factor in drafting his proposal.
As for the $355M in federal funding, the city plans to spend it on infrastructure projects, anti-COVID and safety-related initiatives, programs to shelter the homeless, and other strategies.
For more clarity, let's take a closer examination of what the latest city proposal contains.
Expanded Law Enforcement
Something that stands out about the pricey proposal is the plan to greatly increase the police department, in addition to more money going into Dallas PD.
In his plan, Broadnax suggests the city expand its police force by 500 officers over the next two fiscal years.
"To improve response times, particularly for those high priority calls, we are recommending hiring 250 police officers in each of the next two years," Broadnax said.
The plan also provides funding so the department can purchase roughly 30 more squad cars, allowing more officers to ride solo.
Additionally, Broadnax recommends that the police overtime budget- which currently stands at $17.3M- is increased by $14M.
With the city's rapidly growing population in mind, Broadnax's plan reflects an invested interest in increasing public safety.
In addition to hiring more police officers, the proposed budget calls for more 911 operators and the increase of the Dallas Fire-Rescue budget by $20 million.
Dallas has struggled to answer 911 calls within the national standard of 10 seconds and had even begun training police officers to fill the role due to staff shortages.
Under the new plan, Broadnax hopes Dallas meets the national standard more regularly and won't have to overwork their police force.
Higher Worker Pay
Minimum wage for all city employees is planned to increase to $15.50 an hour this year and $16 an hour next year from the current $14. The budget also calls for bumping up police and firefighter starting salaries by roughly $3,000 annually.
And, after Dallas mayor Eric Johnson advocated for it, six weeks of paid parental leave will be offered to full-time city employees, starting in January.
Lastly, the lovely sanitization truck drivers that help keep the city sparkling clean are also expected to see an uptick in pay.
The budget also proposes installing $10M worth of water and sewer infrastructure, which had been a growing issue for Dallas.
On top of improving the city's water quality, the proposed budget would also invest millions into improving street conditions, sidewalks, and school zone flashing beacons. This includes a $5M to repaint almost 1,000 miles of lane markings and over 800 crosswalks.
New budget seems imminent
Now, Broadnax is ready to present his proposal to city leaders. Officials are also asking residents for feedback, and council members will hold Budget Town Hall Meetings throughout August.
Broadnax will begin budget discussions with the Dallas City Council next week. The council will adopt a final budget in September, before the start of the next fiscal year in October.
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