Last week, the Dallas City Council approved final allocations for the 2024 Bond Program in a move supported by every official on the horseshoe except Council Member Adam Bazaldua.

The $1.25 billion package authorized last week for a May election was the result of several months of work from council members, City staff, and volunteers from the Community Bond Task Force (CBTF).

The bond program that will go before Dallas voters in less than three months prioritizes funding for streets and parks but also includes dollars for housing, economic development, homelessness, public safety, and other categories.

Council Member Bazaldua (D7) voted against the bond last week after proposing an alternative set of allocations that was shut down by the rest of the horseshoe.

In a new op-ed published by The Dallas Morning News, Bazaldua elaborated further on his opposition to the bond program, explaining that he believes it fails to provide adequate funding for some of the city’s “most pressing issues,” such as housing and maintenance at City Hall.

“When children come to City Hall to speak about how housing insecurity is a worry in their young lives, it tells me it’s not a choice but an obligation,” he wrote. “We have seen housing costs rise exponentially over the past few years, and it disappoints me that when we had the chance to have a greater impact on so many lives, we chose differently.”

“Including more funding for affordable housing in this bond package was not negotiable for me,” wrote Bazaldua.

Bazaldua also expressed “frustration” with the bond program’s “lack of funding” for maintenance and repairs at the City Hall building.

The allocations proposed by Bazaldua last week included $27,900,000 for City Hall, but the proposal adopted by the council did not include any dollars for City Hall.

Bazaldua argued that Dallas City Hall has “experienced years of neglect since its opening in 1978,” noting that the building’s boiler system is original to the facility and “had an intended lifespan of 30 years.”

“It is not for lack of trying, as each budget cycle other ‘priorities’ take precedence over our own storefront,” he wrote. “We’ve had one project this past year to install new boilers and piping, but that’s only scratching the surface of the building’s greatest needs.”

Bazaldua also pointed to the building’s HVAC system as something that will require upgrades in the coming years.

“… [O]ur building is deteriorating, yet we have not allocated a single cent in this bond package toward necessary infrastructure for the critical workspace of front-line staff who interface with more than one million residents daily,” he wrote. “This building hosts our 911 and 311 operations as well as our emergency operations centers. That fact alone should garner the funds needed for effective operations.”

Bazaldua argued that the city council “lack[s] policy-guiding principles” and has “many conflicting interests” on the horseshoe.

“Without our ‘north star,’ every major decision leaves council members vying for the wants and needs of an individual district over the needs of our entire city,” he said. “Sadly, it is the residents present and future who will suffer.”

While Bazaldua voted against the bond last week, he says he will vote in favor of it in May and is encouraging residents “to do the same.”

“In doing so, I urge you to remember that the needs of this city go beyond parks and streets if we expect to continue the growth our community has experienced,” he wrote. “Later this year, we will begin the annual budget process. Dallas must do more than we’ve ever done before to ensure we are a great place to live and work.”

While Bazaldua minced no words in his objections to the bond package, he stands alone in this position among Dallas’ elected officials. The $1.25 billion program was passed with the support of every other council member and Mayor Eric Johnson.

Arun Agarwal, chair of the CBTF, told DX last week that the 2024 Bond Program “is the best bond package the mayor and city council have passed. Being chair of the [CBTF], it’s pretty close to what we had recommended.”

“We told them housing is not an option. [At the] 11th hour, they came up with shenanigans about housing,” he continued. “The people said they want streets. They want parks. They want public safety.”

“Now we just have to get behind it to get it to the public to get it passed,” he said.

The final step of approving the bond will take place on May 5 in the general election.