DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Dallas City Council has voted to move forward with a property tax increase, but the increase approved Wednesday is smaller than the one proposed by the city manager.
The city council voted 12-3 in support of a 3.5% increase. City Manager TC Broadnax had proposed an 8% increase.
“I hate for you to get there in August and understand that you have no wiggle room. We’ll find a way to get through it, but again, we’re only asking to preserve your own ammunition should you want to do something later," Broadnax said.
The City of Dallas furloughed 500 employees through July as the city deals with a gap of $25 million in the current budget. The city expects an even bigger crunch in next year's budget as sales tax revenue declines because of closures associated with COVID-19.
But as sales tax revenue declines, opponents of the larger property tax increase said that would put a tougher strain on people who may already have lost their job.
"I just feel like we don't even fully understand and haven't gotten our arms around how badly this has impacted the folks in our city," says Mayor Eric Johnson, who voted against the 8% increase. "I know for a fact, and I know all of you do, too, that folks are hurting right now."
"Now is not a good time for our residents to be facing big tax increases," says Councilman Lee Kleinman. "If we're really looking out for the best interests of our residents, we should be looking at, maybe, somehow we could decrease taxes."
Instead of increasing taxes, Johnson says the city should look at additional ways to cut spending between now and the time the property tax rate is adopted.
Council members Tennell Atkins, Adam Bazaldua and Jaime Resendez voted in favor of the larger increase. They say a cut in services would hit their districts in southern Dallas hardest.
“With so much uncertainty, I cannot, in good conscience, vote against having as many options as possible,” Bazaldua said.