As the U.S. economy experiences historic losses and the city of Dallas faces a budget shortfall, city officials will present a 600-page budget proposal for the next fiscal year to the city council on Tuesday that includes a minimum wage increase for city employees, spending to address “systemic issues in policing practices,” and a price tag that is barely less than the current fiscal year’s total.
The proposed $3.83 billion total budget is only about $22 million less than the current fiscal year’s $3.85 billion total budget.
The proposal also says that Dallas will experience a reduction in police officers.
“In the [Fiscal Year 2020-2021], [the Dallas Police Department] will end the year with 55 fewer officers than when it began due to class size restrictions as a result of COVID-19 (25 members per class),” the document reads.
However, proposed police department funding is $516 million, which varies less than $1 million from the current fiscal year’s $517 million budget. This follows the city council’s decision in May to delay the issue of police funding until the consideration of the coming fiscal year’s budget.
The draft budget focuses on two primary concerns — the coronavirus pandemic and the protests that have drawn the city’s attention to policing.
“This budget reflects the austerity these times require while continuing to deliver essential services to our residents with a focus on real change,” the executive summary reads.
City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in the budget document that the city should spend more on “[b]asic needs like jobs, housing, and access to food and health care” for residents, among other expenditures.
Included in the proposed budget is a minimum wage increase for full-time city employees to $14 per hour in the coming fiscal year, with an expected increase to $15 in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022. The proposed minimum wage for temporary and part-time workers is $12.88.
The new budget also contains a $650,000 allocation for a new “recovery services facility” for persons arrested for public intoxication.
The city’s proposed property tax rate is identical to the last fiscal year, which is 77.66 cents for every $100 of assessed property value.
“The proposed [Fiscal Year 2020-2021] budget calls for hard decisions, but we are committed to making thoughtful changes while seeking non-traditional ways to maintain essential services despite reduced revenues. Residents can give input at upcoming virtual town halls,” Broadnax said on social media.
The Dallas City Council is hosting a series of virtual public comment sessions, which are set to occur throughout August.
Broadnax will present the draft budget to the city council at a virtual budget workshop on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.