In an open letter published to Texas Metro News, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson addressed the $4.51 billion budget for the 2022-23 Fiscal Year budget, the largest ever budget for the city.
Johnson shared that the budget received a unanimous vote of 15-0 from the city council. The last time a city budget received a unanimous vote was in 2019.
“That’s indicative of a strong budget,” Johnson said in the letter. “That’s not to say it’s perfect, of course. No budget is. There are many needs across this city and limited resources. And elected officials and city staff all have competing priorities they want to have addressed. But overall, this budget very closely aligns with the top priorities that I outlined earlier this summer.”
Those priorities, according to Johnson, include community-based crime solutions, data-driven policing strategies, tax relief, and public safety. He shared that the budget that will hopefully address some of the city’s long-standing issues.
Other aspects of the budget spend tax dollars on homelessness and vagrancy, infrastructure projects, and increasing hours for libraries, among other things.
A property tax rate reduction of 2.75 cents will also be implemented, which Johnson stated is the biggest rate reduction in around 40 years, though at the same time the City expects a substantial increase in property tax collections in the coming year, as reported by The Dallas Express. The property tax rate reduction is eaten up by higher valuations, so property tax bills will likely still grow.
The budget is put into action by the city manager and the city manager’s team.
The Fiscal Year budget for 2022-23, as laid out in the open letter, includes these additional spending increases:
- An increase in the age 65 or older and disabled homestead exemption from $107,000 to $115,500.
- Money to hire 250 police officers during the upcoming fiscal year.
- Market-based salary increases for police and firefighters and a retention bonus program to retain veteran officers.
- A new night detail unit to work in the city’s entertainment districts during peak hours.
- Increases in training instructors and hiring for Dallas Fire-Rescue.
- Purchases of an additional ambulance and a fire engine, in addition to replacement vehicles.
- $1.75 million to address the highest-priority Dallas Fire-Rescue facility repairs.
- New $3 million master leasing program to rapidly rehouse homeless and vagrants.
- New $1 million capacity grant program for nonprofits that help address homelessness and vagrancy.
- Additional Code Compliance officers to inspect multi-family properties and deal with illegal dumping.
- A $157 million plan to maintain street infrastructure.
- Staffing support for the new Office of Inspector General, which will monitor, investigate, and prosecute ethics complaints and corruption cases.
- Expansion of hours of operation for libraries across the city.
Johnson stated in the open letter that he would have been in support of a bigger tax cut, but the Dallas City Council did not offer majority support.
The fiscal year starts on October 1, 2022, and ends on September 30, 2023.