Johnson wrote in his letter that Dallas is “primed for continued growth in the years ahead.”
“I have been proud of our efforts to build a safer, stronger, more vibrant, more dynamic, and more resilient city,” Johnson wrote. “But it is clear that our city government still has many basic needs to address. And as the sole citywide elected official, it is my responsibility to advocate for an annual budget that reflects the best interests of our entire city.”
Adding to recommendations he made earlier this month, Johnson said the city should “step up lateral hiring efforts” and reiterated his opposition to cutting the police overtime budget.
At Johnson’s request, the Dallas City Council set a plan in motion last year to hire 500 new police officers over two years. The mayor said he would not support reducing that number.
Though his memo did not contain any dollar amounts, the mayor indicated that property tax relief in the coming year’s budget should be broader than in previous years.
“I am pleased that we have already supported increasing the senior homestead exemption this year, and I believe an across-the-board tax-rate reduction for all homeowners and renters — who bear the hidden cost burdens of hundreds of dollars every month in property taxes as part of their rent — is in the best interest of our residents and our city’s growth in the years ahead,” Johnson wrote.
Broadnax’s proposed budget is due August 6. The city council will debate and vote on the budget on October 1.
In contrast to Johnson’s recommendations for the coming year, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk recently proposed a budget that includes a property tax increase without additional police hires. The Austin City Council cut police funding by $150 million in 2020.
On the other hand, the Dallas City Council cut the police overtime budget in 2020 by $7 million against the advice of the police chief at the time, Renee Hall. Hall resigned shortly thereafter amid a firestorm of controversies, including how she handled civil unrest in downtown Dallas that year.
Johnson was adamantly opposed to the overtime cut, characterizing it as “unconscionable.”
Broadnax recently had a run-in with Johnson after the mayor and members of the city council considered firing him due to complaints about his performance. Instead, Broadnax reached an agreement with Johnson to make progress at the city manager’s office on issues such as the city’s permitting process and 911 call wait times.
A copy of Johnson’s memo outlining his budget priorities can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."