The Dallas Public Works Department’s infrastructure projects are trailing behind schedule.
This issue was raised by Council Member Cara Mendelsohn during a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting on Monday.
According to a memo from Assistant City Manager Robert M. Perez, a total of 1,432 projects have been planned, but only 236 were completed as of January.
These projects include maintenance on streets, alleys, sidewalks, and bridges.
“I’m very concerned with these numbers,” said Mendelsohn. “Four months of the year, and we’ve only spent less than 8% of the dollars.”
Public Works Director Ali Hatefi said that street maintenance projects accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic, but in February and March, his department hired new contractors to resolve unaddressed issues.
He said 2021 and 2022 were “the years that we were actually struggling because of the pandemic, because of the shortage in the concrete [and other problems] that we had.”
Perez added that inclement weather and freezing temperatures have prevented Public Works from executing routine maintenance, and projects will be completed at a quicker pace during the upcoming warmer months.
However, Mendelsohn seemed dissatisfied with his explanations.
“When I saw this report … this causes me to lose sleep,” she said. “This is a major concern. Streets are a priority for our people and our quality of life.”
Mendelsohn continued, “Everything is dependent for Public Works on getting this done as your priority, and everything else we’ve talked about, I think, is second and third and fourth and fifth.”
Other topics discussed during the committee meeting included the “Smart Cities Initiative,” as reported by The Dallas Express.
Mendelsohn also took to Twitter to bring light to her concerns.
“What is causing the delay in repairing/replacing @CityOfDallas streets?” she wrote, noting that according to the memo, Public Works only spent 7.7% of its budget during the first four months of the fiscal year (FY), which began in October 2022.
She wrote that, during the same time period in FY 2021-22, the department spent 10.6% of its budget, and in FY 2020-21, it spent 28.4% of its budget.