Nov 15, 2023 - News

$1 billion Dallas bond proposal heads to City Council

Illustration of Dallas City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Park and street improvements make up a majority of the $1.1 billion upcoming 2024 Dallas bond proposal approved by an appointed city task force this month.

Why it matters: Bond packages help cities pay for major infrastructure projects outside the regular annual budget. Cities typically use a portion of property tax revenues to pay off the debt.

Driving the news: The biggest line items in the recommendations, which must now be approved by City Council, are $375 million for street improvements and nearly $350 million for parks and recreation projects.

The proposal also includes:

  • $73 million for economic development, including investments in preserving affordable housing rental options.
  • $59 million to fix up arts facilities, including the Meyerson Symphony Center, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Majestic Theatre.
  • $28 million to improve city libraries, including a new 18,000-square-foot Bishop Arts Library.
  • Most of the $88 million recommended for public safety facility projects would go toward building a new Dallas police academy at UNT-Dallas.

Yes, but: Advocates had pushed for $200 million for housing, homelessness and economic development initiatives.

  • The task force's final recommendation puts just $100 million toward the category.

What they're saying: "City funding is what is needed to help subsidize the building of affordable housing because market forces will never meet the deep, affordable [housing] need," Dallas Housing Coalition member Ashley Brundage told the Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile: San Antonio allocated $150 million of its $1.2 billion bond package last year toward affordable housing projects.

  • Austin put $350 million in bond money toward new affordable housing.

State of play: Dallas voters last approved a city bond package in 2017, putting about half of the $1 billion toward street improvements, a perennial problem.

What's next: City Council will be briefed on the newest bond recommendations Dec. 6.

  • They must finalize the recommendations and decide whether to hold the election in May or November 2024.

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