This roundup of city news includes the latest chapter on redistricting of Dallas, plus property tax cuts, plus maybe free DART for schoolkids, plus a proposal by radio station KERA to take over a radio station owned by the city of Dallas.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Redistricting, next step
The Redistricting Commission came up with a final map for drawing new districts following the 2020 Census, which revealed shifts in population and ethnic makeup in neighborhoods. The final draft is called 41B, a variation on the original 41, with the most dramatic changes coming to District 2 (Deep Ellum), District 7 (southeast Dallas), and District 8 (Lakewood). Districts 6 and 13 also have some changes including a consolidation of some of the richest areas in the city: Midway Hollow, Preston Hollow, Bluffview, and Devonshire.
It will now to go the Dallas City Council for approval, and the Commission meeting in which the final draft was hammered out was described as an "ugly, bloody meeting" by some watchers, so the city council meeting is sure to be a lot of fun.
Property tax breaks
In a quiet state-wide election on May 7, Texas voters passed two propositions intended to lower property taxes for homeowners. According to the Texas Tribune, Proposition 1 cuts school district property taxes for homeowners who are 65 and older or disabled. Proposition 2 raises the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. A home worth $300,000 will save around $175 on their annual property tax bill. But the cuts come at a cost to public schools. Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke offered suggestions on how to bring in more tax revenue including legalizing marijuana, casino gambling, and sports betting.
KERA and city radio
KERA has applied to take over WRR 101.1 FM, the barely-listened-to classical music station owned by the City of Dallas. According to a release, KERA has submitted a proposal in an open procurement process and has a contract to operate WRR, which the Dallas City Council will vote on in June. The only other applicant was the Dallas Symphony Organization.
The station would still be owned by the City of Dallas, but a spokesperson says that the city will not be paying KERA.
According to the Friends of WRR, whose board consists of many Park Cities elders, the station is not "at the expense of taxpayers" but operates "as an enterprise of the City of Dallas, a self-supporting government fund that sells advertising and sponsorships to generate revenue to cover its expenses."
But the release says that WRR municipal radio enterprise fund's expense appropriation is $1.8 million, and revenues last year were approximately $1.3 million. IE, not covering its expenses. Confusing.
KERA currently has a local music spinoff station, KXT 91.7 FM. KERA is also part of the Dallas Media Collaborative, a network of organizations that includes the Dallas Morning News, Al Día, Dallas Doing Good, D Magazine, Dallas Weekly, Texas Metro News, and Advocate Media. And in 2021, KERA and the DMN formed The Arts Journalism Alliance, in which the two began jointly publishing and sharing content.
Free DART for schoolkids?
At its May 11 meeting, the Dallas City Council approved a resolution in support of the development and implementation of a Student Transit Program offering free fares for kindergarten through 12th grade students on DART's bus and rail transit system. In a release, DART Board Chair Michele Wong Krause said that the agency will examine the pros and cons of a variety of student fare subsidy programs as part of a comprehensive fare policy study.
Food trucks and water parks
For the first time ever, food trucks and food trailers can set up at select City of Dallas aquatic centers, including the Coves at Samuell-Grand, Fretz, and Crawford parks. Food truck owners can call Dallas Park and Recreation at 214-670-8740 or go to bit.ly/3xXY56L to apply.
Kroger job fair
The City of Dallas and Kroger Co. are hosting a grocery delivery hiring event for the southern Dallas fulfillment center. Kroger is looking to hire 100 associates in Dallas as it prepares to bring Kroger Delivery to all Dallas residents this summer. The fair will take place at Highland Hills Library, 6200 Bonnie View Rd., on Saturday May 14 from 9 am-1 pm. The grocery retailer plans to hire talented individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. Kroger Delivery is recruiting drivers, logistics, and human resources.