City Budget Time

City of Dallas begins budget process, plus a handy list of town hall meetings

Dallas begins budget process, plus a handy list of town hall meetings

Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez is presenting the 2014-15 budget to the city council on Tuesday, August 12, which includes more money for libraries and the animal shelter, as well as a plan to replace some police officers with civilian workers.

Gonzalez previewed his budget proposal to a small group of reporters on Friday, August 8, at 3 pm, which was marginally better than Friday at 4 or 5.

While emphasizing that he wanted to maintain public safety, he said he was working to restore key services that have seen reductions in the past few years. "We recognize there are serious issues in our infrastructure and quality-of-life issues," he said.

His recent staffing changes — which include the hiring of Eric Campbell from Charlotte, North Carolina, to oversee public safety, and Mark McDaniel from Tyler to oversee streets, sanitation and water — are designed to enhance a centralized planning department focused on "neighborhood vitality," led by former assistant city manager Theresa O'Donnell.

Library services and the Dallas Animal Shelter have both been recipients of citizen lobbying in the past year, and the new budget addresses those two areas.

The library would get $6 million in a two-year plan, with $3 million budgeted per year, to increase hours to seven days a week at 13 branches, including the Central Library. The remaining 13 branches will increase from 40 to 46 hours per week.

Dallas Animal Services would see an additional $700,000, which would include new equipment for sterilizations and matching funds for the shelter's partnership with PetSmart. The pet store funded an adoption center in North Dallas that has so far helped facilitate more than 1,500 adoptions.

Under the area of public safety, Gonzalez proposed the use of civilians doing tasks such as desk jobs that were previously done by police officers. "This will result in more officers in the streets and will not sacrifice crime-fighting efforts," he said.

The city would hire 165 police officers and 20 civilians, plus reassign 37 desk officers to patrol. The current rate of attrition is 200 officers, so the department would lose approximately 35 officers.

He forecast a savings of $2 million in the police department by replacing squad cars less often: when their mileage hits 110,000 instead of 100,000.

According to the city-issued figures, property taxes account for 45 percent of the revenue. They've grown 6.8 percent, or $36 million. Sales tax revenue accounts for 23 percent of the general fund, with an anticipated 4.3 percent increase, for a total of $269 million. There will be no new taxes.

Other expenditures included $4 million in street improvements, $2 million for improvements at Fair Park, and the creation of a building inspection area to streamline the process for new business startups and residential construction.

Under arts and services, the budget adds funds for the Music Hall, Sammons Center and transportation for seniors. "They're not sweeping or intense, but we're trying to address needs throughout," Gonzalez said.

From August 12-28, the Dallas City Council will host a series of town meetings to discuss the budget; the times and places are listed below. It is also hosting five virtual town hall meetings you can attend online (go to dallascityhall.com or dallascitynewsroom.com and click on the town hall banner), or call in, using a phone number posted on the Dallas City Hall website.

Tuesday, August 12

District 1 Scott Griggs
6 pm. Methodist Dallas Medical Center - Hitt Auditorium, 1441 N. Beckley Ave., 75203

District 2 Adam Medrano
6:30 pm. Samuell Grand Recreation Center, 6200 E. Grand Ave., 75223

District 4 Dwaine Caraway
6 pm. South Oak Cliff High School, 3601 S. Marsalis Ave., 75216

District 6 Monica Alonzo
6 pm. Bachman Lake Recreation Center, 2750 Bachman Dr., 75220

District 7 Carolyn Davis
6 pm. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 2901 Pennsylvania Ave., 75215

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Kleberg-Rylie Recreation Center, 1515 Edd Rd., 75253

District 12 Sandy Greyson
7 pm. Campbell Green Recreation Center, 16600 Park Hill Dr., 75248

District 14 Philip Kingston
6:30 pm. Arlington Hall at Lee Park, 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd., 75219

District 9 and 10, Sheffie Kadane and Jerry Allen
6-7 pm, Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Thursday, August 14

District 2 Adam Medrano
6:30 pm. Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave., 75209

District 5 Rick Callahan
6 pm. Umphress Recreation Center, 7616 Umphress Rd., 75217

District 6 Monica Alonzo
6 pm. Park Forest Library, 3421 Forest Ln., 75234

District 7 Carolyn Davis
6 pm. Skyline Public Library - Auditorium, 6006 Everglade Rd., 75227

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center, 7071 Bonnie View Rd., 75241

District 12 Sandy Greyson
7 pm. Renner Frankford Library, 6400 Frankford Rd., 75252

District 11 and 12, Lee Kleinman and Jennifer Staubach Gates
6:30 pm. Churchill Recreation Center - Gymnasium, 6906 Churchill Way, 75230

District 1 and 4, Scott Griggs and Dwaine Caraway
6 pm. University General Hospital - Auditorium, 2929 S. Hampton Rd., 75224

Monday, August 18

District 4 Dwaine Caraway
6:30-7:30 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

District 7 Carolyn Davis
6 pm. Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, 4600 Solar Ln., 75216

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Fireside Recreation Center, 8601 Fireside Dr., 75217

Tuesday, August 19

District 5 Rick Callahan
6:30 pm. Julius Dorsey Elementary - Auditorium, 133 N. St. Augustine Rd., 75217

District 7 Carolyn Davis
6 pm. White Rock Hills Library - Auditorium, 9150 Ferguson Rd., 75228

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Polk-Wisdom Library, 7151 Library Ln., 75232

District 11 Lee Kleinman
6:30-7:30 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

District 12 Sandy Greyson
7 pm. Timberglen Rec Center, 3810 Timberglen Rd., 75287

District 13 Jennifer Staubach Gates
6:30-8:30 pm. Walnut Hill Recreation Center, 10011 Midway Rd., 75229

District 14 Philip Kingston
6:30 pm. Times Ten Cellars, 6324 Prospect Ave., 75214

District 9 Sheffie Kadane
6:30 pm. Winfrey Point, 950 E. Lawther Rd., 75218

Wednesday, August 20

District 1 Scott Griggs
7:30 pm. Martin Weiss Recreation Center, 1111 Martindale Ave., 75211

District 4 Dwaine Caraway
6:30-7:30 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

District 6 Monica Alonzo
6 pm. West Dallas Multipurpose Center, 2828 Fish Trap Rd., 75212

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Janie C. Turner Recreation Center, 6424 Elam Rd., 75217

Thursday, August 21

District 6 Monica Alonzo
6 pm. Jaycee Zaragoza Recreation Center, 3114 Clymer St., 75212

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6:30 pm. Singing Hills Recreation Center, 1909 Crouch Rd., 75241

District 9 Sheffie Kadane
6:30 pm. Harry Stone Recreation Center, 2403 Millmar Dr., 75228

District 11 Lee Kleinman
6:30 pm. Fretz Recreation Center Large Room, 6950 Belt Line Rd., 75254

District 1, 2 and 14 Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston
6:30 pm. Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St., 75201

Monday, August 25

District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill
6 pm. Hampton-Illinois Library Black Box Theatre, 2951 S. Hampton Rd., 75224

District 8 Tennell Atkins
6 -7 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Tuesday, August 26

District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill
6 pm. Park in the Woods Recreation Center, 6801 Mountain Creek Pkwy., 75249

District 13 and 14, Jennifer Staubach Gates and Philip Kingston
6-7 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Wednesday, August 27

District 5 Rick Callahan
6:30 pm. Pleasant Grove Library Black Box Theatre, 7310 Lake June Rd., 75217

Thursday, August 28

District 3 Vonciel Jones Hill
6 pm. Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, 5150 Mark Trail Way, 75232

District 5 Rick Callahan
6:30-7:30 pm. Virtual Dallas City Hall, 6ES

Dallas City Hall
Dallas tackles its annual budget with a resolution by September. Courtesy photo
City Manager A.C. Gonzalez
City Manager A.C. Gonzalez presents budget proposal in August. Photo by Teresa Gubbins