The agenda at Dallas City Hall in 2022
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones — and that you celebrated South Oak Cliff High School’s big state championship victory!
This is the last update of 2021. And as Dallas rings in 2022, optimism abounds. That is in part because this has been an incredibly productive year at Dallas City Hall.
For starters, the City Council helped shape and pass a Back to Basics budget that cuts the property tax rate and invests heavily in neighborhoods, streets, sidewalks, homelessness services, and public safety.
New Police Chief Eddie Garcia’s violent crime reduction plan is working, bucking the national trends seen in other cities. (Check out this national story about why crime is going down in Dallas.)
Meaningful ethics reform — real reforms that will help curb corruption at Dallas City Hall — passed unanimously.
Wonderful new parks and trails are coming to life, and Oncor recently donated another 110 acres of parkland, including Parkdale Lake, to the city.
The Dallas economy continues to thrive — and the City Council approved a new comprehensive economic development policy earlier this year.
And those are just a few examples of major issues in a year that also included mass vaccination efforts and the local response to the statewide power outages.
Dallas had a good year. But this is no time for complacency. In this competitive environment, Dallas cannot afford to rest on its laurels. There is still much more work ahead.
That’s why I recently sent a memo to the City Council committee chairs outlining expectations and the top policy priorities for the year ahead.
In total, this legislative program includes 48 priority areas — six for each of the eight standing committees — to address in 2022.
Here is a sampling of those priorities:
- Implementing the comprehensive economic development policy, especially the recommendations of the Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and ensuring the success of the Economic Development Corporation.
- Reviewing city codes, policies and procedures that allowed for environmental threats such as Lane Plating, “Shingle Mountain,” and others to occur, and recommending to the Dallas City Council new codes, policies, and procedures — including zoning changes — to prevent such occurrences in the future.
- Developing and recommending a plan to meaningfully reduce the property tax rate to make Dallas more competitive with surrounding cities.
- Monitoring and assessing progress on the city manager’s plan to improve the city’s permitting processes.
- Creating a formal sunset review process of city departments, offices, and programs to help eliminate waste, redundancies, and inefficiencies in city government.
- Supporting proper implementation and providing oversight of all public safety strategies, including the violent crime reduction plan, the RIGHT Care program, 911 staffing improvements, Dallas police officer hiring, the KPMG civilianization study, and the programs recommended by the Task Force on Safe Communities.
- Developing sensible regulations for short-term rental properties in Dallas.
- Guiding and shaping the process to determine the future of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and surrounding area as it pertains to transportation infrastructure.
- Working with the workforce czar to implement recommendations from Upskilling Dallas: How to Modernize the City’s Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow and other upskilling efforts.
These priorities are all within reach at City Hall.
But every level of government has a role to play in the city’s success. That’s why I also sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to lay out some of the city’s early priorities for federal infrastructure funding.
Among them: Reconstructing Interstate 30 to reconnect South Dallas and East Dallas, helping to build Harold Simmons Park, and making the city’s streets and intersections safer.
Read about the importance of those projects by clicking here.
If the City Council addresses these priority areas and the federal government gives this city its fair share of funding, Dallas has the chance to take its rightful place as the undisputed premier city in the American southwest.
It should be a great year — one that will lead to many more.
That’s all for today. Remember to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible, and stay safe when celebrating on New Year’s Eve.
And have a Happy New Year! See you in 2022.