Dallas City Hall. (Photo by Hilary Schleier)

Dallas City Hall. (Photo by Hilary Schleier)

Want to learn more about how the city plans to spend taxpayer dollars? Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates will host a series of meetings aimed at letting the public weigh in on what’s most important to them when it comes to city spending.

The first meeting will be virtual, taking place Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 6-8 p.m. Just call in at 888.400.1932 (or, for Spanish-speakers, 888.400.9342). The next meeting, set for Thursday, Aug. 18, from 6:30-8 p.m., will be at the Churchill Recreation Center, 6906 Churchill Way. The final town hall will be Thursday, Aug. 25, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center, 10011 Midway Road.

The City of Dallas made a habit of keeping some 1,692 jobs on its payroll despite leaving those positions unfilled, which creates a budget surplus of about $84 million.

City Councilmen Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston have complained for years that this creates a budget surplus, which the City Manager can spend rather undemocratically for uses not in the city’s budget.

The proposed 2017 city budget eliminates this “salary lag,” freeing up money that can be budgeted out to departments and projects by our elected officials.

Your First Look at the FY2016-17 Budget as Proposed by City Manger AC Gonzalez:

  • $1.228 billion, up 7.18 percent, General Fund
  • Property tax rate decrease of 1.58 cents per $100 valuation (0.7970 to 0.7812), the first decrease since 2007
  • Hire 549 more Dallas Police officers
  • Hire 50 more public safety officers
  • All non-topped-out police and fire officers get a 10-percent raise this year. A 5-percent raise was already planned, so this proposal is a one-time 5-percent raise above what was already promised
  • DPD officer patrol bonus of $200/month
  • Hire firefighters at attrition
  • $130 million for streets, enough to keep the streets about the same
  • Walt Humman’s foundation receives $17-million management fee for Fair Park (pro-rated amount as agreement will be effective Jan. 1)
  • No budget increase for parks
  • No budget increase for libraries
  • $1 million increase for arts and culture
  • $1.5 million increase for Dallas Animal Services for overnight animal control officers, free spay/neuter in southern Dallas and free microchips
  • Hire 23 more code officers
  • $1 million increase for homelessness
  • Water rate will increase by about $1.50 a month on average, a 2.6-percent hike, and your sanitation bill will increase about $1.53 a month
  • Add 322 new positions
  • 3-percent merit raise for civilian employees

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