City Hall

How's the City Spending That Tax Hike?

Back when those eight council members called for that tax hike intended to keep rec centers open and library shelves stocked and parks mowed and so on, we asked Angela Hunt: Yes, but how will we know that's where the money's actually going? To which she replied that she'd spoken with City Manager Mary Suhm, and the two agreed that "every quarter we will post on the city's website exactly where the money is going for the various amendments we've proposed."

City Hall's closed today for the Presidents Day holiday. But I went over to the city's website a moment ago to look for something else and noticed this at the very top of the page: "FY 10-11 Council budget amendments: Read about the first quarter progress on use of funds." There's a link to two items, the first of which is a three-page chart of updates revealing that $5,668,170 has been spent out of the $41,443,554 raised by the tax hike.

Hunt said last year that the line-item accounting would be "crystal-clear," as in: "If you have a line item for street maintenance, we'll list exactly what streets it's being spent on and what the balance is." Alas, the skeletal outline offers no such details, only vague updates like "Eleven crosswalks complete," "68 miles of lane striping completed" and "Completed through Q1: .7 Lane Miles Asphalt Rehabilitation."

Following that is a link to a briefing given the city council on Wednesday: Maintenance of Texas Department of Transportation Rights of Way within City of Dallas. Because if you'll recall, part of Your Tax Hike Dollars -- $6,411,629, to be specific -- are going to cleaning up 3,300 acres' worth of rights of way formerly tended to by TxDOT, which pleaded broke and let things go shoddy real quick, leading "to over 2,000 citizen complaints per year," according to the city, and a "negative perception of Dallas." The city's already spent $859,738 on some remediation and upkeep and is this close to awarding a mowing contract.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky