How's the City Spending That Tax Hike?

Categories: City Hall
From last week's council briefing concerning the $6.4 million being spent by the city to clean up rights of way once tended to by TxDOT
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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A Hunt Constituent
A Hunt Constituent

Budget was passed last September (2010) - this February 2011 (not yet at the 50% mark) and this tax rate increase that CM Hunt led the charge on - has only yielded $5.0m plus in results? We have mowed a street corner? My goodness - CM Hunt - lets go for another tax rate increase - I can find another street corner that can use a mowing as well. What a cluster...........Mayor Leppert was right then and now............the tax rate increase was a political stunt done by CM embarass Mayor Leppert and punish him for his stand to "open bids for hot dogs and beer sales at Love Field".......and we the taxpayers get what????? I live in CM Hunt's district - and can't believe the citizens of Dallas are that stupid to think a tax rate increase will yield anything other than projects like the one shown in this article......Amazing...........

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

A Friend of Unfair Park sends this note, and wishes it to be added as a comment:

"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,"

Hey, I tried to tell you about this when it was happening, but none of you would listen. I back up to I-30. For the last 30 years, TXDot sent the mowers 2-3 times a year. Not pretty but serviceable.

Well a couple of months back I go out to my guerrilla garden to see literally hundreds of guys with weed wackers and riding mowers -- enough to keep all of the parks in the City looking pretty spiffy for the whole year.

What they told me was that it is because the SuperB owl is coming to town. They are going to make it look like a putting green (to quote them) -- nothing to do with complaints and I expect it will shortly go back to looking the way it did. Now I am 30 miles from the Jerry World and I doubt if anyone going there really cared about how the highway right of way looked.

What a waste of those dollars that could have bought books at the library or kept rec centers open.

Ask them to produce those complaints and I bet they can't.

Heck they will tell you that complaints are down. And I will tell you that the reason they are is that they have cut the hours for 311 and even during those hours you can never get through -- ergo, fewer complaints and they must be doing a great job.

I bet if you asked the people who were for the tax increase if they wanted the City to use roughly 1/6 of the money on this boondoggle, they would be appalled.

But like I said, I tried to draw your attention to it when it was happening and no one cared.


so looking at the photo have a question or two. Why didn't the property owner keep the area cleared. will the city bill the property owner for what appears to be work they did for them?


I don't think that Ms Hunt decided that this was what the money should be used for -- and all of us who supported the increase to help maintain services are appalled. We have a Council/Manager form of government and this expenditure was probably decided by the City Manager. I expect that Ms. Hunt is probably as appalled. It was meant to maintain services at libraries, parks and rec centers -- not mow the highway right of way for the Superbowl. I don't think Ms. Hunt is at fault.

They actually mowed more than a street corner -- please get your facts -- they mowed all of the state highway right-of-ways in the City. Personally, I would have rather bought materials for the library and maintained the parks in the neighborhoods.

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