Eliminating unfilled positions frees up $84 million in city budget

Dallas City Hall
Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The city of Dallas made a habit of keeping some 1,692 jobs on its payroll despite leaving those positions unfilled, which creates a budget surplus of about $84 million.

City councilmen Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston have complained for years that this creates a budget surplus, which the City Manager can spend rather undemocratically for uses not in the city’s budget.

The proposed 2017 city budget eliminates this “salary lag,” freeing up money that can be budgeted out to departments and projects by our elected officials.

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Below are some other budget highlights, from Griggs. Have a say in the budget at public meetings in our neighborhood Aug. 18, 22 and 25. Find all the details on those meetings here.

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From Griggs:

Your First Look at the FY2016-2017 Budget as Proposed by City Manger AC Gonzalez:

$1.228 billion, up 7.18 percent, General Fund

Property tax rate decrease of 1.58 cents per $100 valuation (0.7970 to 0.7812), the first decrease since 2007

Hire 549 more Dallas Police officers

Hire 50 more public safety officers

All non-topped-out police and fire officers get a 10-percent raise this year. A 5-percent raise was already planned, so this proposal is a one-time 5-percent raise above what was already promised

DPD officer patrol bonus of $200/month

Hire firefighters at attrition

$130 million for streets, enough to keep the streets about the same

Walt Humman’s foundation receives $17-million management fee for Fair Park (pro-rated amount as agreement will be effective Jan. 1)

No budget increase for parks

No budget increase for libraries

$1 million increase for arts and culture

$1.5 million increase for Dallas Animal Services for overnight animal control officers, free spay/neuter in southern Dallas and free microchips

Hire 23 more code officers

$1 million increase for homelessness

Water rate will increase by about $1.50 a month on average, a 2.6-percent hike, and your sanitation bill will increase about $1.53 a month

Add 322 new positions

3-percent merit raise for civilian employees

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