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Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson wants to cut $6.5 million from salaries to put toward public safety

Johnson provided the council with three options for where he wants the money moved to in the city's upcoming budget.
Credit: AP
Mayor Eric Johnson responds to questions during a news conference at City Hall to discuss the latest developments amid the coronavirus crisis in Dallas, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson sent a memo to the city manager and City Council asking for $6.5 million of city executive salaries to be moved toward public safety initiatives in the next year's proposed budget.

Johnson sent the letter Friday, detailing the salary cuts and how the savings should be applied to public safety spending or two other options in the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget.

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a legislative proposal where any city that defunds police departments will have its property tax revenue frozen at its current rate. 

Johnson responded that Dallas has seen an "unacceptable" increase in violent crime and called for investment in a "highly trained and well-led police department that emphasizes community policing."

The mayor said he believes city leaders "should be willing to cut executive compensation — a sacrifice that many private sector companies and nonprofits have already made."

That savings in the City's general fund should "work to improve the lives of our constituents." 

Though the mayor said the $6.5 million in savings from salary cuts should go toward public safety spending, he offered two other alternatives. 

The three options, ranked in order of the mayor's preference, are as followed:

  1. Dallas Police Department. This includes 50 civilian positions slated for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 instead filled in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 ($1,656,522), violence interruption programs ($1,600,000) and lighting in high-violence locations ($1,250,000).
  2. Street and Alley Fund. This includes additional funding for streets, alleys and traffic signals ($6,000,000) as well as funding for bike lanes ($500,000).
  3. Reduction in the property tax rate ($6,503,465).

RELATED: Public safety, budget shortfalls top of mind at Dallas City Council meeting

Johnson said he is "not interested in any reductions in force, other than proposals to eliminate redundancies, as a means to achieve the $6.5 million in savings."

Johnson said putting the money toward public safety would include:

  • Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities. This task force provides data-based recommendations to reduce violent crime. Johnson said the City needs to set aside more funding to have a greater immediate impact.
  • Police squad cars. Johnson is proposing a partial reinstatement of funding for police squad cars so police officers have reliable cars.
  • Lateral hiring. Johnson wants to set aside money to hire officers from other departments who are at the same training and level of officers who are leaving or retiring.

The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $3.83 billion and the planned budget for the second year is $3.82 billion.