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Tell Us: What Are Your Dallas City Budget Priorities?

Protesters gathered outside Dallas City Hall.
Bret Jaspers
Protesters gathered outside Dallas City Hall.

As the Dallas City Council is hammering out next year's city budget, we at KERA are curious to know what residents feel needs funding in their community.

The city budget determines how taxpayer dollars are spent in the coming year. The biggest chunks of the Dallas budget are spent on police and public safety, and infrastructure. But the budget also determines how much money libraries and parks will receive.

The Dallas City Council voted on Sept. 23 to approve a roughly $3.8 billion budget for the upcoming year. The police department’s $500 million budget will remain mostly intact, despite calls from residents and activists to slash $200 million from the police.

The key focus of the proposed city budget by City Manager T.C. Broadnax is addressing systemic issues in policing practices. City council members have been meeting the past two months to discuss proposed amendment items, and community activists have been hosting town halls to express their concerns. The final vote for the budget is scheduled for Sept. 23.

KERA News wants to know: What are your priorities as the city of Dallas finalizes a budget? To participate and share your thoughts you can leave us a voicemail by calling the number: 430-558-1603.

We heard from some of you:

"One thing I always say is that after-school programs are at the intersection of public safety, education and workforce. You know, it's no surprise that because of COVID-19, the child care industry took a big hit. And so we need to ensure that not only is there a level of funding, but hopefully additional gains for after school and summer funding within this budget." — Angelica Portillo, Director of Advocacy at Dallas After School

"The police department should be defunded in a significant way. And just as an example of ways that can be used, it should go into things like affordable housing, rental assistance, and foreclosure prevention. If we start putting real resources into our communities, they'll police will have less problems to solve." — Raisch Tomlanovich, Dallas resident

"I think in my community, what I would like to see is more access to parks, recreation libraries. We had a neighborhood library that ... that's where I went, you know, after school, on the weekends, that's where my activities were. So I think, you know, it's so important for, for health, wellness and education." — Roselle Tenorio, Dallas resident

"I’m calling in response to the Dallas city council removing police overtime pay for the cops trying to cut the city budget. This is absolutely absurd. The city council really needs to value their priorities." — John Forest, Dallas commercial interior designer

I think defunding the police department is suicidal. I do not support it. And believe we should actually increase funding to make sure our neighbors are protected." — James Brown, Dallas resident

"I would really like to see some money possibly taken from the police and invested in mental health response teams. For years, we’ve taken the money out of mental health, threw people into the streets and now they are homeless." — Thurman, 68 year-old retired Dallas resident

"I would like this city to focus more on infrastructure, especially on the Southside of the city." — Jared, Dallas machinist

"I hope they do not defund the police in any way and hope there is zero restructuring. If anything we need more police funding and better trained police officers." — Carrie Rindall, Dallas resident

This post will continue to be updated.

Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.