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The Dallas City Council is voting on a new budget. Here's what you need to know.

A photograph picturing the Dallas City Hall building in the background and a tree in the foreground.
Keren Carrión
Dallas city council members on Wednesday will vote on a city spending plan for the next fiscal year.

Dallas city council members will soon vote on a $4.5 billion city budget. City manager T.C. Broadnax's key proposals: Hire and retain more police officers. Lower property taxes. Focus on equity and environmental justice.

The spending plan is about $160 million more than the current budget adopted last fall. That increase was largely driven by federal coronavirus relief money and increased property and sales tax revenues.

The general fund is at $1.7 billion. It’s used to pay for city services like public safety, parks, transportation and libraries. Broadnax says that’s 11% higher than the previous year. And a big chunk of that money is going to public safety.

What would the new budget mean for Dallas residents?

A lower property tax rate

Like other North Texas cities, Dallas is looking to lessen the pain for homeowners who've seen their appraisals increase. The proposed budget would lower the tax rate.

The Dallas property tax rate would drop to 74.58 cents per $100 valuation. A resident with a home valued at about $330,000 would save about $70 dollars on her tax bill. If approved, this would be the seventh year in a row that Dallas lowers property taxes.

But note that a lower property tax rate doesn’t necessarily mean a resident’s tax bill would be lower. Property values are determined by county appraisal districts.

Property taxes primarily go to the city's general fund which is used for city services.

Dallas Police Department HQ signed framed by trees.
Keren Carrión
Council Member Adam McGough is the chair of the Public Safety Committee. He said this year he is prioritizing hiring and retaining police officers.

More police officers

The Dallas Police Department’s budget would be about $612 million. That’s an increase of more than $40 million from what the City Council approved last fall. It would include hiring 250 police officers, more than $4 million for financial incentives to retain officers about to retire for one more year and create a Night Detail Team to educate, monitor and inspect venues at entertainment districts.

The cost of trash and water would go up

Fees are expected to increase for city water, storm drainage and sanitation services. The monthly sanitation fee would go up by 4.4%. Residents would pay a new fee of $35.81.

City staff said the reason for higher fees is because of rising gas prices and new equipment, and the city's goal to increase the minimum wage for employees.

Storm drainage fees would increase by 40 cents to a monthly bill of $9.22 and water and wastewater services would go up to an average rate of $70.19 a month.

The Department of Sanitation Services serves approximately 245,000 households. The Sanitation Services fees cover the cost of providing garbage, brush and bulk trash, and recyclables collection services for Dallas residents.

The City of Dallas skyline is seen off at a distance from a park.
Keren Carrión
The City of Dallas skyline is seen off at a distance from a park.

Other items included in the proposed budget:

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Invest $157.3 million in the City’s infrastructure for streets, alleys, bridges, and sidewalks  

Economic Development

  • Hire more permit clerks for the city’s building permit process to improve the customers’ experience  
  • Initiate the nearly $2 billion Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center Master Plan   

Environment and Sustainability

  • Protect the city's tree canopy and slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer  
  • Invest in environmental justice and remediation efforts  

Housing and Homeless Solutions

  • Protect people experiencing homelessness during inclement weather   
  • Launch a $2.5 million a Homeless Action Response Team  

Broadnax’s plan also would increase the minimum wage for city workers from roughly $15 an hour to $18, expand the hours of nine Dallas public library branches from 40 to 54 hours a week and implement the city’s new Racial Equity Plan.

The new budget would take effect October 1st.

This story has been updated. The budget vote was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 21, but a city agenda reflects the vote has been pushed to next Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Got a tip? Email Alejandra Martinez at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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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.