DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas residents won’t face a higher property tax rate under City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s proposed 2020-21 $3.8 billion spending plan.
The city’s general fund amounts to $1.4 billion and the property tax rate would remain the same as this year: 77.6 cents per $100 valuation.
But because of rising property values, the owner of an average home, worth about $325,000, will still pay $135 more in property taxes in next year’s budget.
When asked if it’s fair for residents to pay more during the pandemic, Broadnax said, “Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s fair or unfair, what I would say is the cost of service has risen. And the demand for service has not gone down as it relates to what people expect the city to do.”
The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown has impacted the economy and lowered sales tax revenues, which has forced cities like Dallas to tighten their budgets.
Earlier this year, Broadnax warned the city faced a $100 million shortfall.
Broadnax said his proposal is a balanced budget as required under law.
Through the end of September, the city will have about 415 employees under furlough.
Broadnax said when the new budget year begins, there will still likely have between 200 and 300 furloughed employees.
Mayor Eric Johnson has previously suggested defunding the bureaucracy and cutting administration pay, including Broadnax’s $400,000 a year salary.
Broadnax said, “No, those were not things that I recommended in the budget. There were, however, reductions and eliminations of positions, in many cases, executive level positions, to find ways to again save money, in addition to the other changes we made operationally, and/or any restructurings that we may have done, to find ways to find resources to put into services.”
In March, the city received $234 million in coronavirus relief funding from Congress, which has cushioned the city’s finances.
“It definitely was a big help. We obviously may need more help and so we’re encouraging additional resources from the federal government, particularly
if the disease continues to linger in our community”, said Broadnax.
Under his plan, the city is reducing the number of sworn Dallas Police officers from 3,150 this budget year ending September 30th, to 3,095 at September 30, 2021, and to 3,040 at September 30, 2022.
The City Manager said because of the virus, medical personnel have advised limiting the number of new cadets police can train at one time.
As a result, he said the city expects more officers to leave the department, then join, at least for now.
Broadnax said that could change.
“We will again follow the medical science on how we staff our police cadet classes, and we’ll grow that should we get the guidance from them that it’s allowable to grow it.”
Broadnax has proposed expanding the RIGHT Care program, a pilot program in which behavioral health personnel and police respond to mental health calls.
He also plans to implement recommendations by Mayor Johnson’s Task Force On Safer Communities including those that would teach young people to peacefully resolve conflicts and improve lighting and eliminate blight in high-crime areas.
Last year, violent crime spiked in the city to record numbers in a decade.
So far this year, the number of murders is about the same as last year, and aggravated assaults, non-family violence, are up by 27 percent from last year.
Broadnax said, “I’ve challenged the Chief (Renee Hall). We said in the very beginning, we’ve got to do it. Everything we can every day and every evening to find ways to lower crime. We’re hopeful that many of the interventions that we hope to roll out in the latter part of this year and the continued efforts that the police are making to find ways to reduce crime will show up in the numbers.”