Jan 18, 2024 - News

Dallas' bond proposal in flux

Illustration of Dallas City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The proposed 2024 Dallas bond program could grow by $150 million as council members continue to debate which major city projects need more money.

Driving the news: A City Council briefing is scheduled at 2pm Friday to discuss when to hold the bond election and whether the bond package will be increased from $1.1 billion to $1.25 billion.

  • City staff is asking council members to take a straw vote on support for increasing the funding.

Why it matters: The council is seemingly divided on how the massive bond package should be spent and even when an election should occur.

  • The governing body has already heard differing proposals from city staff and a task force appointed by council members. City staff want the bulk of the bond money to go toward street improvements, while the task force proposal heavily funds park development.

Catch up fast: Mayor Eric Johnson asked for a special called meeting to be scheduled Jan. 31 instead of a planned council briefing Wednesday because he is speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today.

  • Johnson, who was appointed the task force chair, has been pushing for the city to improve its parks and add more green spaces during his tenure.
  • But council members Adam Bazaldua, Paula Blackmon and Jaime Resendez asked for an earlier meeting to allow bond details to be finalized well before a May election.

Details: After a December briefing, 12 council members sent feedback to city staff on bond priorities. Six of those also suggested funding levels for bond propositions.

  • A memo update did not list which of the 15 council members provided feedback.

By the numbers: The staff proposal recommends $532 million go toward street improvements and $225 million be put toward building parks.

  • The task force suggested putting $375 million for streets and $350 million for green spaces.
  • Now, city staff adjusted the bond proposal to align with what council members have suggested: $500 million for streets, $250 million for parks, $60 million for housing and $55 million for cultural facilities.

Of note: If enough council members don't attend Friday's special called meeting to reach the nine-member quorum, the available council members will still hear updated staff recommendations and listen to public input on what projects should be funded.

What's next: The council will also be briefed on bond options Jan. 31.

  • For voters to decide in May, the council must call the election by Feb. 16.
  • The next general election is in November.
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