Dallas Council Delays $800 Million Bond Vote Set for May

Mayor Rawlings pushed delay until at least November

The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to delay an $800 million bond referendum scheduled for May until at least November.

Supporters of a May referendum said residents have waited too long already for included improvements like street repairs and updated parks.

But Mayor Mike Rawlings gave several reasons for the delay, including the unsettled problem of billions of dollars in unfunded obligations for members of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System.

"Citizens want two things: They want to make sure their services are provided and the streets are fixed, and they want the city to be in good fiscal shape and their taxes don't go up," Rawlings said. "We've got to make sure we get all the information in front of them before they make an important decision like we're asking them to make."

Rawlings said incoming City Manager T.C. Broadnax should have a chance to review the city's finances before a borrowing plan is put before voters. And the mayor said the city's financial position could be drastically altered by the upcoming state legislative session and a pending police and fire back pay lawsuit set for trial this year.

Other city leaders opposed the delay, including District 1 Councilman Scott Griggs.

"From talking to citizens throughout the city, citizens want to see it in May. We want to have our streets fixed. We want to have our parks fixed, and now is the time to do it," said Griggs.

Councilman Rickey Callahan said there is no good reason for delay.

"I've waited, way, way, way too long out in my district for road work," Callahan said. "It's 17 years since we've had any appreciable street repairs."

Several council members complained the $800 million May plan included less street repair than they had requested.

With a show of hands, nine of the 14 City Council members present Wednesday voted to reconsider later this year holding a possible November bond referendum. It could be smaller but add more street repair and eliminate other projects that were included in the May plan.

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