Dallas asks for public input on budget

- The city of Dallas wants to hear if it is spending tax dollars wisely. City council members will host town hall meetings on the budget every week through the end of the month.

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the shrinking number of officers in the Dallas Police Department and the issue will no doubt come up in these meetings.

Many law enforcement experts recommend having three police officers for every 1,000 residents. Right now the city has just above two officers per 1,000 residents and the city manager said he expects to keep it that way for the next two fiscal years.

City Manager TC Broadnax said late last week he expects to hire about 250 officers in the upcoming fiscal year. But when you factor in retirements, the total number will stay about the same at 3,100 officers.

Former Dallas Police Chief David Brown has pushed the city to hire 500 new officers. But Broadnax said the money to accomplish that will no longer be budgeted.

The savings from not hiring the additional officers will be used to fund the city’s additional police and fire pension fund contribution, which is required by a new state law aimed at fixing the pension crisis.

That announcement isn’t sitting well with the Dallas Police Association. The head of that group says the city needs more police officers to provide public safety.

The city’s spending plan also adds nine more 911 call takers and money to fill 3,400 pot holes. The budget would keep the tax rate the same.

For times and locations of the town hall meetings, visit www.dallascitynews.net/budget18.

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