Property taxes to go up to fund Dallas first responders

The good news is the Dallas City Council voted to give tax payers a reduction in the property tax rate.

The bad news is because property values have gone up so much this year, so will property taxes.

With the average Dallas home value of $275,000, you can expect to pay roughly $7 a month this year.

Council members voted for the tax rate Wednesday morning, but the looming battle of the budget has yet to get started. One of the hottest topics is more money for police and fire.

Property appraisals are soaring. In Dallas, that means more tax revenue for the city. The city council approved a new tax rate that will add $85 to the property tax bill on a $275,000 home. That's $28 more than the budget proposed by the city manager.

The number one reason 12 council members voted for it is the looming issue of pay for police and firefighters.

"At the town halls, we've heard from so many citizens that they'd like to see the capacity in this budget to give our police officers and our fire fighters a raise,” said Councilmember Scott Griggs.

"They said raise it,” said Councilmember Tennell Atkins. “We want to have police safety. We want to be safe."

"You're going to hear that we need to recruit and retain our police and fire," said Councilmember Adam McGough.

"I appreciate the message that was sent today by council,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.

The Dallas Police Association and the Dallas Firefighters Association mailed out thousands of flyers urging Dallas residents to support more money in the budget for public safety. The new tax rate is expected to generate $16 million more than the city manager's proposal.

"Sixteen million more dollars is not what this city needs to be asking our citizens to pay for,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “I believe we can find money for our police and fire."

Rawlings did not support the measure, neither did council members Jennifer Gates and Lee Kleinman. They believe there's already enough money in the city manager's budget to support police and fire by cutting other expenses.

"Let's talk about this fallacy that somehow this is about public safety,” Kleinman said. “This is about giving raises to the rank and file."

"What the citizens of Dallas are saying is we want more cops,” Mata said. “We need more firemen, and we want public safety to be a priority."

Even as for exactly how much money will go to police and fire? That battle has not yet begun.

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