Budget talks continue as Dallas adds 10 code officers to tackle apartment violations

Members of the Dallas City Council on Wednesday postponed passage of the city’s $4.51 billion budget, but approved several amendments, including an allocation to clean up code violations in some of the city’s run-down apartment complexes. the city.

Council members also agreed to defer a decision until September 28 on the property tax rate of 74.58 cents per $100 property assessment, as proposed by City Manager TC Broadnax.

The budget and tax rate were originally scheduled to pass at Wednesday’s budget hearing, but an additional public hearing is needed because the items were not properly announced, Broadnax said.

District 12 Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn and District 9 Councilwoman Paula Blackmon suggested at Wednesday’s budget hearing a tax cut of 3 cents from last year’s rate, rather than the 2 cent cut .75 cents offered. Mendelsohn’s motion to change the proposed tax rate failed after much discussion over the potential impact on the budget.

District 8 Councilman Tennell Atkins said he doesn’t want to cut the tax rate beyond the proposed 3-cent cut.

“I feel like this budget is a great budget,” Atkins said. “I think the city manager has done a terrific job. If we go any lower, it will jeopardize some equity and quality of life concerns. We are reducing the tax rate in the city of Dallas. We do wonderful work in the city of Dallas.

The 2023 fiscal year begins on October 1.

Amendment 10

Amendment 10, introduced by District 10 Councilman Adam McGough, is one of the big changes that came out of the budget talks.

The proposal will reduce the city’s pension stabilization fund by $866,100 and use the funds to add 10 code enforcement officers focused on the multifamily violent crime reduction plan in partnership with the Dallas Police Department.

Adam McGough

“When we were talking earlier about community lawsuits and talking about the need to make community lawsuits more effective, you were all speaking my love language,” McGough said during a Sept. 7 budget hearing. “That’s where I learned how this city works, thanks to this program. The way this works best is through code officers and in some cases police officers who work with city attorneys and community attorneys. Adding community attorneys without adding code agents is a mistake. This leaves a void of need.

The area that most needs to be identified in the city’s violent crime reduction plan is multi-family communities, McGough added.

“We’ve seen where the Integrated Public Security Bureau has shown drastic improvements working on Grid Zones alongside DPD and with code and actually removed one of the most criminal properties of the Grid System” , McGough said. “The answer is that we need to do more. We know what works. This proposed budget proposed two positions. While this is helpful, it does not affect the majority of our city. It really only focuses on two apartment complexes. The 10 additional agents allow him to focus on apartments that are located throughout our city.

affordable housing

District 7 Councilman Adam Bazaldua expressed concern about Amendment 10, noting that if the city is “too aggressive with some of our low-income properties,” residents could be relocated and need other city resources for housing.

A city official representing code compliance said officers did not see any displacement as a result of their work at the Volara housing complex at 3550 East Overton Road.

“Our first goal when we come to a property is a connection with the management and ownership of the property to explain why we are here and what we are trying to improve,” he said. “One of our stated goals will be that we want affordable housing to remain affordable, even as we improve the quality of life and safety of those properties. If rents and things go up, we’re certainly working with advocates, our housing department, the Office of Community Care and others to make sure we can find alternative housing solutions for anyone who’s been displaced on any property we are working on.

The hiring of 10 code compliance officers allows an effort previously concentrated in District 4 to expand across the city. The work includes cleaning up unsafe and run-down apartment complexes and addressing crime and safety issues in multi-family developments, officials said.

Volara Apartments

In addition to Amendment 10, council members approved Amendment 11, a $100,000 increase to the Minor Housing Repairs and Neighborhood Revitalization program.

Amendment 12, also approved, authorizes an allocation of up to $3 million to secure a head lease or other similar arrangements for the creation of supportive housing for the homeless. The program, introduced by Mayor Eric Johnson, reduces the affordable housing gap for Dallas’ most vulnerable residents, according to the proposal.

Residents can download a full copy of the 768-page budget from the city’s website.

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