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  • Mac Smith

Updated: Apr 16

The City budget document is over 700 pages long. There is a lot of information about goals and targets, but not much about whether targets are met, the value of what is accomplished and how the cost compares to other cities. I will press the city manager to provide a clear definition of what is to be accomplished, metrics to define success and to provide a report based on those metrics. Look at the Dallas budget for 2015-2016, or the Houston budget and you will see what I mean. I will press for a zero base budget for about 20% of the spending each year. That way, each department gets a thorough review and has to justify it's existence about once every five years.

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Updated: Apr 16

If we are going to cut our taxes, we have to cut our budget. If we are going to increase funding for the police, we have to take it from somewhere else. The new council takes office on June 14. The new budget is approved in September. I will use that time to review the budget, ask hard questions and recommend items to cut. Government bureaucracies do not cut their budgets unless someone applies pressure. I am willing to apply the pressure. It will not be a quick fix. But, I believe that we can freeze spending and any required reductions in staff can be taken care of by attrition without undue hardship to city personnel. If we freeze spending, increases in property valuations will eventually bring us into line with the tax rate of other major Texas cities. We do not have to cut basic services to freeze spending. Other cities provide basic services with much lower tax rates. So can we.


We will have to re-align spending to find more money for the police. If elected, I will compare the 2015 budget when we had 3500 police officers with the current budget where we have 3000 to find what has been added to spend the money we saved on the 500 officers we cut. That will be ther first place to look for savings; but, every item will be under scruitny.



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  • msmith00254

Low income families tend to concentrate in the central city because of older housing stocks, lower rents and more jobs employing unskilled labor.

Because of this concentration, the cost of alleviating poverty is too great for the central city, in this case Dallas, to bear.

In order to spread the burden, welfare efforts are, rightly, the province of the state and federal government. Otherwise, people who live in the suburbs will not bear their fair share and Dallas residents will be overburdened.

WHAT CAN THE CITY DO

I. The Dallas Housing Authority administers public housing and rent subsidies. It is not part of city government but the City of Dallas appoints the governing board. The city can appoint board members who are knowledgeable and diligent to ensure that the program is administered fairly, that maximum results are obtained for each dollar spent and that all available state and federal aid is secured.


II. There are many welfare programs available to help low income families. Unfortunately, finding the sources of welfare is complicated and low income people are often ill equipped to find them. The City should have a department in the Office of Community Care with a staff devoted to helping our citizens take maximum advantage of available aid programs.


III. The city staff should ensure that the City takes maximum advantage of any grants, public or private, that are available to affordable housing or other poverty programs are secured and effectively spent.


IV. Public works money should be distributed equally across the City on a per capita basis. The council person in each district should guide, but not direct, the spending of public works money in his/her district.


V. Affordable housing is disappearing as older homes are razed and newer, more expensive ones are built on the lot. The City should begin planning and zoning for multi-family housing to provide for people who are displaced. Improvements to streets and utilities will likely be required to accommodate the higher densities and availability of public transportation should be considered.


VI. Enterprise Zones provide a unique opportunity to create relatively unskilled jobs in areas that sorely need them. The City can aid in this effort by offering a property tax rebate to the extent that companies that locate in these Enterprise Zones use the money to train their employees. The training and new jobs will increase incomes and make what was once unaffordable housing affordable.

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