The Dallas City Council passed a new budget Wednesday afternoon, including a 6.5 percent property tax rate increase.
The final vote came after several hours of speeches from residents and council members who were sharply divided over the tax rate increase.
The final council vote was 8 to 7 in favor of the increase, the same margin that endorsed it in a preliminary vote last week.
Mayor Tom Leppert again urged his collegues to vote against the increase, saying a higher tax rate would hurt efforts to attract future growth to the city. Leppert said basic services could still be provided at sufficient levels without the additional revenue.
Rate increase supporters said the city will still raise less property tax money than it did last year despite the rate increase because of declining property values.
Councilwoman Angela Hunt said city spending on parks, libraries and street repair had sharply declined over the past few years as spending on public safety increased to fight a high crime rate and that the tax rate increase was needed to keep services from dropping to unacceptable levels.
The new budget, which still includes spending cuts, goes into effect Oct. 1.
The number of layoffs was reduced by several hundred with the tax hike, but pink slips are still being sent to 121 Dallas city employees. Some may still get hired back into other vacant city positions which are still funded.