Dallas plans new public improvement loan plan – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Members of the Dallas City Council began debating Wednesday what to include in a proposed 2024 public improvement referendum.

The city is borrowing money to pay for major capital improvements and the needs are huge.

The current city inventory has $14 billion in need. Officials suggest just $1 billion should be included in a May 2024 borrowing plan to be funded without raising property taxes.

City Manager TC Broadnax gave streets and transportation nearly half of the original plan offered to council members Wednesday.

“Obviously the most burdensome and heavy is the streets, because that’s what we hear a lot about, but within that are alleys and all kinds of things,” Broadnax said.

Being included in a public improvement bond referendum does not mean that changes will happen quickly.

Davis Street between Hampton and Westmoreland was included in the 2017 bond referendum, but work will not begin on that segment until late 2025.

The big bore tunnel project in Mill Creek to alleviate flooding in East Dallas, Deep Ellum and the Fair Park area is funded with previous bond money, but it won’t be finished until 2025.

Council members have said the new bond plan needs to be designed to help offset past racial inequality in certain parts of the city.

“We have to accept the fact that ‘equity’ is the word now. It’s an uncomfortable term. So was segregation,” said Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold.

The “Equity Policy” approved by the City Council last year could suggest that neighborhood streets that have been neglected for years near Kiest Boulevard could be included in the new bond ballot.

Several streets in that area, including Easter Avenue, have an F-grade street quality rating from the city, but are not on any work plan.

Previous priorities promoted more heavily traveled streets along with upgrading street quality.

“We know we’re probably going to impact more people on a main street versus a residential street,” Assistant City Manager Robert Perez said.

Still, streets alone may not produce the economic development upgrades some members seek for their districts.

“If we’re going to continue to invest the lion’s share of these opportunities in potholes, it’s not going to bring grocery stores to my constituents,” said Councilman Adam Bazaldua.

Also on Wednesday, the council discussed a new housing policy that has been in the works for a year.

“This new policy is a game changer colleagues. This will change our city in a good way, create a way for us to provide some balance,” said Councilman Casey Thomas.

The housing policy proposes a number of strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing in a city where large, expensive new housing is rapidly replacing smaller, more affordable housing, threatening to displace existing residents from Dallas neighborhoods.

The city manager’s original plan includes over $100 million to support affordable housing.

– Yes, this will cost a lot of money. It won’t be cheap. But we shouldn’t shy away, says councilor Omar Narvaez.

City Housing and Neighborhood Services Director David Noguera said housing development needs to be combined with other changes to make Dallas housing better compete for new residents.

“Having a unit is not the same as changing the quality of life for people who live in that area,” he said.

Broadnax warned that new priorities come at the expense of old ones.

“If I put in a whole new supply of housing at $125 million, something’s not going to be done and be at the level it’s been, parks and things like that,” he said.

Council member Cara Mendelsohn said new projects often overlook the cost of maintaining them.

“We’ll go for things we want, new exciting shiny objects, but we haven’t taken care of the things we already have,” she said.

The next public improvement bond referendum in Dallas is scheduled for May 2024.

Many public meetings will be held around the city to help formulate the final mix of projects for voters.

Also the result of public input, the new equity and housing priorities will strongly influence the new plan.

See also  These Dallas homes make a splash with resort-like pools

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *