The City of Dallas has been holding budget meetings all over town for citizen discussion regarding the FY 2016 budget. District 9 City Councilman Mark Clayton held a get-together at Lake Highlands Baptist church next to Hexter Elementary on Tuesday night, August 25. Approximately 25 citizens and 10 City staff members were in attendance.
It’s impossible to do a deep dive on a $3.1 billion budget in an hour and a half but some of the highlights delivered by Ryan Evans, First Assistant City Manager, were:
- This will be City of Dallas’ largest budget
- Currently no property tax increases are anticipated and some council reps, including Clayton, have tossed out the idea of a slight tax cut
- The taxable value of property in Dallas has increased 7.7 percent from last year and has surpassed $100 billion for the first time
- Sales tax grew 3.3 percent from last year
- Don’t get too excited as water and sewer costs will rise 5.3 percent and your sanitation bill will go up $1.48/month
- $700 million of the budget goes for police and fire
- $54.3 million from general fund and $59 million from prior bond programs is set aside for streets. There was acknowledgment that the 2017 bond election will have to be the place to generate the capital necessary to really make a difference.
- Total number of hours libraries will be open will be at an all-time high
- No big projects in this budget for White Rock Lake but the Bathhouse got $14,000 for new programming
Questions and comments came about needs at Dallas Children’s Theater, stray dogs, the city’s wellness program for its employees, Neighborhood Plus program and public safety. Interestingly, the issue that dominated about half of the Q&A was the need for more programming for senior citizens. I don’t remember that being a campaign issue but it was on the minds of many in the audience Tuesday night.
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