After several months of townhall meetings and council input, the City Manager presented her proposed bond package to the Council today.
The package total $1.28 billion and the primary objectives are to improve our streets, flood protection and storm drainage, maintain buildings, and enhance public safety. Our other objective is to strategically invest in projects that promote tax growth and support catalyst projects.
Here’s the general breakdown of the proposal:
|Streets and Transportation||$365,319,359||28%|
|Flood Protection and Storm Drainage||$334,623,816||26%|
|Park and Recreation Facilities||$307,618,245||24%|
|Economic Development, Housing and Tourism
(Farmers’ Market and Union Station)
|Police, Fire, and Courts Facilities||$94,564,838||7%|
|Cultural Arts Facilities||$60,407,189||5%|
|City Service and Maintenance Facilities||$30,797,556||2%|
Of this, the larger, citywide items include the Cotton Bowl, Fair Park, city theater in the Arts District, Inland Port, Woodall Rogers Park, Downtown parks, Arboretum, trails, and others.
Improvements important to District 14 include flood control along Inwood, Trinity River sump improvements (that’ll help prevent flooding in the west part of our district), flood control and storm water improvements for the M Streets and Lower Greenville areas that were most affected by the flood, the much-needed Mill Creek project for East Dallas, and a flood relief system for Uptown.
Other District 14 projects include Katy Trail improvements (the Katy Trail extension to White Rock lake and construction of the Santa Fe Trail are already paid for), neighborhood park improvements, and Turtle Creek improvements.
There are numerous recommendations for street and other infrastructure improvements.
I am having three townhall meetings to discuss this proposed package:
Tuesday, May 30th 6:30 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Joint with Councilmember Griffith
Thursday, June 8th, 6:30 p.m.
Samuel Grand Rec. Center
6200 East Grand
Joint with Councilmember Medrano
Tuesday, June 13th, 6:30 p.m.
Grauwyler Rec. Center
7780 Harry Hines
Joint with Councilmember Medrano
Most residents at my townhall meetings supported paying a tax increase to support a $1.5B bond. We also need to fund additional police officers to make our city safer. To get more cops, we’ll have to pay for them. That will require some kind of tax increase. So in addition to the bond, we’ll have to increase taxes to get more cops in the future.
As the bond package was being put together, I thought that it would make sense to do a smaller bond package at a smaller tax increase, and then a separte tax increase for more police. The City Manager appeared to have had the same idea, and provided a smaller (albeit large) bond package, with a clear explanation of additional property tax increases that will be required to hire more police. I like that kind of transparency.
On the issue of discretionary funds: I don’t think it’s a good idea. Residents have shared with me their concerns that the Council will not be responsible with discretionary funds. Given the allegations of corruption, millions in uncollected parking fines, improper accounting, etc., I understand there is a perception that City Hall is not fiscally responsible. I believe City Hall needs to earn residents’ trust before asking for this type of discretion.