News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dallas City Council approves $1.25 billion bond package and early May election

Dallas city council members during a meeting Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, at Dallas City Hall.
Yfat Yossifor
/
KERA
After months of debate, several different recommendations and a lot of bargaining, the Dallas City Council has finalized the 2024 bond package propositions.

The Dallas City Council voted on Wednesday to finalize the 2024 bond package allocations — and called for an early May election. Now, Dallas voters will have the chance to decide whether to issue $1.25 billion dollars in debt for city projects.

The final proposition amounts include over $500 million for street maintenance and repair, over $340 million for the city’s park and recreation centers and close to $20 million for homeless housing projects.

What the package does not include is money for what officials say are much needed improvements and repairs to Dallas City Hall. During the meeting, staff said renovations at city hall make up around $100 million of the city’s deferred maintenance.

District 7 Council Member Adam Bazaldua introduced a motion to amend the allocations to include some funding to meet those needs. He also says throughout the process all three major bond recommendations included money for City Hall repairs.

“The reason this is taken out is because we chose for discretionary funds," Bazaldua said during the meeting. "This body made an action that took money away from what was recommended."

Those "discretionary funds" were used by council members for district specific bond projects. Many members decided to use their funds for parks and

Bazaldua’s amendment failed — and he was the only council member to vote against what was ultimately approved during Wednesday’s meeting.

The decision comes after months of planning, debates and numerous recommendations from city staff — and city-appointed boards and committees. Additional funding for the city’s parks and recreation centers became a central priority throughout the bond process.

That includes a campaign for spending nearly a third of the bond allocations — which was originally capped at $1.1 billion — on parks. Several council members joined those advocates — including Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

Johnson made funding Dallas parks a priority during his 2023 reelection campaign. He also appointed the president of the city’s park and recreation board to lead the Community Bond Task Force — a 15-member group tasked with advising the council on bond recommendations.

Along with Johnson at least one other council member appointed their district’s park board member to the bond task force.

Parks officials told the council late last year that the city has close to a $400 million dollar funding need. And the council on Wednesday voted to approve an amount close to that number.

At the start of the discussion over parks, some council members how they could justify such a large amount of the bond going to only one area of city needs.

Now the months of work and bargaining is out of the hands of the city council — and left up to Dallas voters to decide in early May.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at ncollins@kera.org. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gifttoday. Thank you.

Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.