Statement by Council Member Carolyn King Arnold regarding upcoming budget vote
DALLAS – Council Member Carolyn King Arnold issued the following statement regarding the upcoming budget vote:
“On Wednesday, September 23, the Dallas City Council will vote on a final budget that hopefully will reflect the priorities and policies defined by the people of our City. City Manager T.C. Broadnax delivered a $3.8 billion budget this year. Over the last six weeks, councilmembers have scrutinized documentation and back-up materials supporting the manager’s proposed financial plan, and many of us have offered amendments to it.
“It has been an intense time, but that’s appropriate because the City is examining ways to do things differently since much as been learned during the COVID-19 and social justice crises in 2020. Elected officials should be passionately debating how tax dollars are spent.
“You may have seen or read about one of the most difficult deliberations in the Council’s budget sessions. Indeed, it was a ‘head-scratcher’ because Dallas citizens seem to be demanding both more public safety presence and, at the same time, many have profound convictions about an investment of tax dollars into programs that will improve social justice and police practices in Dallas.
“The majority of the Council believes decisions have been made that address both of these critical quality-of-life issues. Hopefully, that will help Dallas become a more peaceful and inclusive city.
“As you may know, all of these meetings and debates have been ‘virtual,’ with most councilmembers locked down in their home offices and connected to each other via WebEx.
“Residents have been able to speak directly to us because of the new technologies available, and that’s a good thing. There have been glitches and muted microphones accompanied by a lot of frustration, but in the end, much has been accomplished through a collective examination of these important issues.
“Our City Manager T.C. Broadnax has been patient, thorough, and thoughtful throughout the process, and this budget will be approved in time for the beginning of the City’s fiscal year on October 1.
“There are a few more issues that need addressing. First, and it’s always number one for me, there’s the issue of Public Safety. I sit on the Public Safety Committee and serve as its vice-chair. Our members review crime statistics nearly every day. Clearly, we will never have enough officers to prevent or stop every criminal act in Dallas. That’s why the #Dallas365Safe Initiative was created.
“This important program includes law enforcement, community non-profits and District Four community partners. It is entering Phase Two, and there will be more details to follow. Start thinking about forming a neighborhood or block association that can be affiliated with #Dallas365Safe. Very soon, we will be back in touch with more details. In the meantime, please don’t be afraid to call 911 for help, and ‘if you see something, say something!’
“As a ‘heads-up,’ please know that Parkland Hospital will be briefing the Qualify of Life, Arts and Culture Committee early in the week.
“Our neighborhoods in District Four clearly contain many of the ‘vulnerable’ or ‘at risk’ residents who have underlying health challenges, including mental illness.
“That makes our people more vulnerable to COVID-19 or the possibility of shorter life spans. Please know there will be some challenging questions for those representatives.
“Finally, if we work together and commit to confront and solve these complicated issues, we can achieve success. There’s truth in the saying, ‘It takes a village.’
“Let’s continue to be teammates and rally to achieve more for our neighborhoods.
“Thank you for your continued interest, and I will be back in touch soon. So, until then, #StayWoke!”