Dallas Council faces tough decision about police, fire pay in upcoming budget

Dallas City Council members spent the day on Wednesday considering 100 different ways to cut the budget. But in the end, they made only a few small cuts.

The most talked about issue with the $3.6 billion budget has yet to be discussed -- potential raises for police and fire.

The Dallas police chief has said recruiting officers is a struggle, and the budget only accounts for hiring four more officers than the department plans to lose to attrition.

The shortage of officers was visible this weekend after firefighters arrived before police and then were chased by a man with a knife. Even after firefighters called for a code blue, the fire association president says police were still slow to respond.

The police association president says the department struggles to retain officers because after they are trained by DPD they are then hired by higher paying suburbs.

“I think people want to see their water bills go to police and fire instead of big corporations,” said Councilmember Scott Griggs. “This fund’s often used as a slush fund.”

“I don’t know why we seem compelled to oppress our residents and our taxpayers with just more and more taxes,” said Councilmember Lee Kleinman.

Council members plan to continue to work on another proposal that the will debate next Wednesday.

Last week, council members approved a tax rate that would allow for an increase for police and fire pay. If approved, the rate will cause owners of a $275,000 home see their taxes rise about $84 compared with last year due to the increase in values.

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