City Chief Financial Officer works to meet 2016-17 budget challenges
Finding the right balance is always a challenge when you’re working on a $3.1 billion budget, said City of Dallas Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Reich.
Despite rising property values and more tax revenue, Reich said “we felt we needed to take this opportunity to reduce the tax rate.” The new rate is 78.25¢, a 1.45¢ decrease from the current tax rate of 79.70¢, leaving more money in resident’s hands.
The 2016-17 budget also funds 449 police officers. This includes 100 new officers, 129 officers to catch up from prior attrition and 220 officer positions for those anticipated to leave during FY17. Additional officer hiring will be phased in with 50 officers in FY18 and 50 more in FY19.
“Our community survey confirmed the top three areas of citizen interest are public safety, streets and infrastructure and code compliance,” she said. “We held many town halls and public meetings to obtain input on our budget from the citizens of Dallas.”
The City Manager added $1.5 million to the budget for evening and night shifts at Dallas Animal Services along with free spay/neuter and microchipping. Council then added another $1.2 million to what the City Manager recommended. With $2.7 million more going to Dallas Animal Services, they are projected to pick up 6,900 more loose dogs this year than last, and spay/neuter, microchip, and vaccinate 7,290 more dogs this year than last.
“We take community input very seriously,” said Reich. “We like to hear ideas from the community on what the City should do and how we can best fund those City services.”
To watch the council meeting and passage of the budget, click here.