On Wednesday, Dallas city leaders met virtually to talk about a number of pressing issues, namely the city budget that's due for a final vote in just weeks in the midst of a pandemic.
Their discussions coincide with the backdrop of this week's big announcement -- the resignation of Dallas police chief Renee Hall.
Next year's proposed city budget totals $3.8 billion, which includes more than $500 million for DPD's budget. That decision has drawn much criticism from the community, which was apparent during the public comment portion of Wednesday’s council meeting.
"Meanwhile, only just over $12 million is going toward homelessness solutions. That's just pennies compared to the police budget,” said Dallas city resident and activist Roxanne Byrne. “You can tell a lot about what a city government values when you look at where it puts tax payer’s money.”
“For every dollar on police, one penny is spent on housing. And public health is underfunded right now in a pandemic. But we should support more money for an overinflated police budget?" said Sydney Loving, another speaker during public comments.
According to the Dallas Morning News, there is a proposal to make cuts to the police department's $24 million dollar overtime budget. Last week, council gave an early approval to cut $7 million from DPD's overtime dollars.
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City council members stated the goal is to put that money toward hiring more civilian police employees, as well as city programs like bike lanes, street repairs, street lights, and affordable housing.
However, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has expressed concern with cutting from police funding, citing the need to respond to rising violent crime in the city.
During Wednesday's meeting, Mayor Johnson tried to propose an amendment to reverse those overtime cuts and instead cut $6 million from the pay of the highest paid employees, which includes finding reductions for anyone making more than $60,000.
His proposal was shot down by the council in a 13 to 2 vote.
A final budget vote is set for September 23. Dallas city leaders have less than a month to make final approvals to the 2021 budget before it is set to take effect on October 1.