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Dallas passes new city budget for 2021

Dallas City Council has voted to increase the overall budget for next year to $3.8 billion. The vote was heavily contended on both sides due to this years’ efforts and calls to defund police departments across the nation. Perhaps the most difficult question on next years’ budget was whether to increase or decrease police spending.

At the end of an hours long meeting and after months of budget town hall meetings and feedback, City Council voted to increase the budget for this next year. Though the largest portion of the budget goes towards the costs of running the city, including economic development and infrastructure, the budget also features an amendment to police spending. General police spending was increased by $8 million, while taking $7 million from the police overtime budget. The decision to increase the spending budget while decreasing the overtime passed with an 11-4 vote, and upset some of the city’s leaders and citizens that were fighting for a larger change to defund Dallas police following the recent calls for police reform sweeping the nation.

Overall, the vote to pass this next years’ increase, 9-6, was seen as more controversial than last years’ vote, 15-0. The reason for this sudden change from previous unanimous votes was due to the controversy surrounding police defunding.

The budget increase also features a reduction to Dallas’ current property tax rate, cutting $0.0003 per $100 assessed valuation (DallasWeekly.com). This will be a continuation of years of property tax rates, but sees a positive change for the city’s residents. Residents had largely all agreed at the town hall meetings on the cuts.

Overall, this 2021 budget attempts to meet the best of both worlds when it comes to the people of Dallas’ views regarding police, despite upset from both sides. In addition, City Council’s hope is that these changes, including the decreased property tax, will continue to provide the best way forward for the vast majority of Dallas citizens. 

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