The city of Dallas approved its biggest ever budget for the next fiscal year on Wednesday, Sept. 22. A record $4.35 billion Dallas city budget received final approval and will be in effect on Oct. 1.
The new City budget laid great emphasis on public safety and restored the Dallas PD overtime money. After months of community budget meetings and City Hall debate, the city finally approved the budget in a final vote of thirteen to two, with members Cara Mendelsohn and Gay Donnell Willis opposed due to concerns about rising property taxes.
The city council members also approved restoring a $10 million cut in police overtime money. City Council decided to cut the Dallas PD overtime money just two weeks ago.
Councilman Chad West said the record $4.35 billion budget was the best the city has ever seen. “It’s a pretty darn good budget,” he said.
West voted in favor of the final budget even though he was against restoring police overtime money. West believes there may have been a lack of overtime oversight at the Dallas PD in previous years. The councilmember wanted Police Chief Eddie Garcia to ask the City Council Public Safety Committee in the future if the overtime money was ever needed.
“56% of overtime was not accounted for in some way. That doesn’t mean there was abuse in that 56%. It means we don’t know,” West said.
Councilman Paul Ridley was also against restoring the Police Overtime money on Wednesday.
“I think we need accountability. I think the taxpayers expect that we will ask for accountability,” Ridley said.
Mayor Eric Johnson cited the recent violence in Deep Ellum as a justification for restoring the Police overtime money.
“For the time being, the police overtime budget is our backstop against rising violence in our city,” Johnson said. “Chief Garcia requested this funding to help supplement his efforts, and I don’t think we should make him jump through hoops to get this money that he is telling us that we are absolutely going to need.”
Most of the city council members all agreed with Mayor Johnson. This was apparent when the final vote to restore police overtime money came in at twelve to three in favor of restoring the overtime money.