Dallas Votes for Higher Taxes

Dallas City Hall
Dallas City Hall | Image by City of Dallas - City Hall/Facebook

Unofficial results from Dallas’ bond election indicate that voters want to raise taxes to pay for a $1.25 billion bond package.

Votes in favor were leading by wide margins for all 10 bond propositions late Saturday night, according to Dallas County. While only a small fraction of votes from election day were logged on the county’s website by 11 p.m., early voting results and the margins clocked from day-off voting suggest that every bond item is set to pass.

“The people of Dallas said YES to public safety, YES to the basics, and YES to quality neighborhood parks tonight by supporting the 2024 Dallas Bond package. Thank you, Dallas, for supporting this meaningful investment in the future of our city!” posted Mayor Eric Johnson on social media just a couple hours after the polls closed.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the Dallas City Council voted on February 14 to put the $1.25 billion bond package before voters, with allocations spread across a number of concerns:

  • Proposition A for street and transportation improvements— $521,200,000
  • Proposition B for parks and recreation facilities — $345,270,000
  • Proposition C for flood protection and storm drainage improvements — $52,100,000
  • Proposition D for library facilities and improvements — $43,530,000
  • Proposition E for cultural and performing arts facilities and improvements — $75,200,000
  • Proposition F for public safety facilities and improvements — $90,000,000
  • Proposition G for economic development programs — $72,300,000
  • Proposition H for housing and neighborhood infrastructure — $26,400,000
  • Proposition I for permanent, supportive, and short-term housing facilities for the homeless — $19,000,000
  • Proposition J for improvements to the information technology facilities — $5,000,000

The likely passage of the bond items comes as concerns remain about the City’s penchant for spending more and more taxpayer money each year. Save for Johnson and Council Members Kathy Stewart (District 10, Cara Mendelsohn (District 12), Gay Donnell Willis (District 13), and Paul Ridley (District 14), the Dallas City Council voted to adopt its biggest budget yet for FY 2023-2024.

“When I was elected in 2019, our budget was $3.6 billion,” Mendelsohn said at a luncheon hosted by the Metroplex Civic & Business Association (MCBA) in February. “The budget this year that we had was $4.6 billion. … In five years, should our budget have gone up $1 billion?”

“We have over $17 billion of just infrastructure needs identified, but the bond we’re talking about is $1.25 billion,” she said. “So we’re not going to meet [all of] the needs. And honestly, most of the work that we need to be doing should be budgeted through our general fund.”

Mendelsohn recently posted a picture of herself campaigning against Propositions C and H on the social media platform X.

Despite the City’s ever-growing budget, core service delivery has apparently left much to be desired. Poor road maintenance, increasing crime due to the Dallas Police Department’s officer shortage, litter strewn about the streets and parks, and the scale of homelessness and vagrancy have been cited by residents as points of dissatisfaction in polling conducted by DX and in the City’s latest satisfaction survey.

MCBA CEO Louis Darrouzet previously said the City needed to get back to the basics, speaking with DX about who officials should select to replace T.C. Broadnax, who, until Thursday, served as city manager. He resigned to take the same position with the City of Austin after roughly seven troubled years at the helm in Dallas.

“It’s important that any new city manager is focused on core City services,” he said. “We would like to see the City get back to meeting the core needs of the city and cut back on peripheral spending. … We need a city manager that will drive efficiency in the City’s operations by removing redundant positions and processes.”

Darrouzet had told DX that the local business community has grown tired of the numerous inefficiencies in City operations, including problems with the building permit process and regulations. Issues at the Development Services Department, which handles City permitting, factored into Broadnax’s near-firing in 2022.

The Dallas City Council appointed Kimberly Tolbert, who worked under Broadnax for years, to serve as interim city manager for the time being.

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