DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s going to take $1.3 billion to keep the City of Dallas running next year.
But the proposed 2019 city budget isn’t enough to keep the streets safe according to police officers.
This is typically the case every year around this time. The city manager presents a budget and no one is satisfied with it… especially police officers and firefighters who say their ranks will continue to dwindle to unsafe levels of this budget is approved.
On Tuesday in a budget work session, Mayor Mike Rawlings said he would not support a tax increase.
Some council members see that as the only way to address below-average pay that’s driving police officers to other departments.
There is a two percent raise included in the budget, but officers wanted at least a five percent increase and a boost to starting pay which is $8,000 below the state average.
Police Chief Renee Hall has budgeted for only six more officers than the number of those retiring and that recruiting efforts have been challenging.
The mayor and others suggested increasing the recruiting budget and removing don’t disqualify applicants for things such as prior use of marijuana.
The department currently has about 2,800 officers not counting academy recruits.
The proposed budget still has a lot of tinkering before its votes on next month.
There is also a budget proposal to suspend paramedic training for a year in Dallas Fire-Rescue.
Firefighters say that will cause its veterans to retire or leave for other cities.