DALLAS — City of Dallas officials on Friday released their proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2022-2023, which begins Oct. 1.
As it stands, property taxes, police staffing and housing are all key priorities in Mayor Eric Johnson and City Manager T.C. Broadnax's proposal for the upcoming year.
Before it can be put into place, the budget -- totaling around $4.5 billion, up from $4.3 billion last year -- will have to be approved by the city council, which typically makes its final decision and approval in September.
Of the $4.5 billion in the budget, about $1.71 billion will make up the general fund -- up about 11%, or around $172 million, from last year.
"We're trying to make impactful decisions that are not only sustainable, but I think speak to the values and the desires of many people in the community," Broadnax said in a news conference on Thursday.
In backing their plan, both Broadnax and Johnson have pointed to a proposed reduction in the city's property tax rate -- from 77.33 cents to 74.58 cents per $100 valuation, a 2.75-cent decrease.
"We believe that that is significant," Broadnax said. "And, I think worthy, given the times we’re in, particularly given the property tax value growth people have experienced."
Ultimately, the city council will decide whether to approve or modify the proposed budget.
Here are several key takeaways on how the city plans to spend around $4.51 billion, according to the proposed plan.
The budget proposal finds the city lowering its property tax rate by 2.75 cents, from 77.33 to 74.58 cents per $100 valuation.
Mayor Eric Johnson called it the "largest single-year tax-rate reduction in modern Dallas history."
"I have been unequivocal that the top two priorities for this year’s budget should be public safety and tax relief for our city’s homeowners, renters and businesses," Johnson said. "I am pleased that the Dallas City Council will now have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to these same priorities by investing in making our neighborhoods safer while also delivering the largest single-year tax-rate reduction in modern Dallas history."
The city plans to hire 250 police officers and "invest in retention strategies," including "market-based compensation" for officers under the city's agreement with the Dallas Police Association union.
A large portion of the increase in the general fund -- about $70 million -- will be put toward police staffing and retention, Broadnax said.
Part of the retention strategy will include a retention bonus program and sick leave payout.
The proposal also includes plans to spend about $40 million to "equip first responders with the tools necessary to protect the community, including equipment and technology investments."
Arts, Culture, Quality of Life
The proposal also finds the city spending about $1.6 million to increase total library hours from 1,200 per week to 1,326 per week
It also includes expanding "proactive illegal dumping teams" to focus on cleaning up trash around library facilities.
The proposal further involves the addition of five positions to create a "Loose Dog Operations Team" in the wake of several high-profile dog attacks in the city.
Housing and homelessness
The proposed budget includes an effort toward housing 2,700 people by the fall of 2023 through the Dallas R.E.A.L Time Rapid Rehousing efforts.
Part of this effort would include establishing an "Emerging Developers Fund" to give organizations "funding resources to advance affordable housing."
Expanding outreach teams to the people without homes and providing more shelter for people in extreme temperatures are also included in the budget proposal.
Transportation and Infrastructure
The proposed budget would have the city spend $157.3 million on city sidewalks, streets, alleys and bridges.
Other proposed infrastructure expenses include: awarding contracts for the installation of about 75 miles of water and wastewater lines; repairing city-owned buildings with up to $9.5 million in funding; and spending almost $70 million to buy and replace city vehicles.
Building permit process
Part of the city's economic development plans include an effort to "reform the City's building permit process and improve the customers' experience."
The city has had a backlog of permit applications in recent years.
Part of the proposed "reform" includes hiring a customer service "meet and greet" team that would help people check on the status of their permit application, Broadnax said.
The city also proposes hiring more permitting clerks and support to help with technical issues, according to the proposed budget.