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Dallas Mayor Considering Budget Amendment To Cut Salaries At City Hall

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is considering a formal budget amendment to cut millions of dollars in salaries at city hall.

The mayor's chief of policy and communications, Tristan Hallman, said Friday they are still developing the amendment.

For weeks now, Johnson has publicly urged City Manager T.C. Broadnax to eliminate positions and slash salaries at city hall.

The mayor was unavailable for an interview Friday.

But in his latest interview on the subject on Aug. 4, the mayor said, "We really need to talk about defunding the bureaucracy."

Under the idea the mayor has tweeted about, taxpayers would save $6.5 million in salary cuts.

They range from a one-percent pay cut for city employees making between $60,000 to $69,999 a year and increase as salaries do all the way to the top six administrators.

Those earning $250,000 or more would receive a 25% pay cut.

The mayor said, "I don't think people who make below $60,000 at the city of Dallas should be having their salaries cut, but people who are making, you know, in the $200-300-400,000 dollar range, the private sector has taken cuts, people who make that kind of money in the private sector have taken cuts, city government should not be immune from that."

When the city manager, who makes $400,000 a year, was asked about whether he included the mayor's idea in his proposed budget, he said, "No, those were not things that I recommended in the budget. There were, however, reductions and eliminations of positions, in many cases, executive level positions, to find ways to again save money in addition to the other changes we made operationally, and or any restructurings that we may have done, to find ways to find resources to put into services."

The total proposed 2020-21 budget is more than $3.8 billion.

The general fund portion of the budget is more than $1.4 billion.

The mayor's push for cuts comes as the city manager has proposed keeping next year's property tax rate the same as this year -- 77.6 cents per $100 valuation.

Because of rising property values, owners of an average home, worth about $325,000, would pay about $135 more in property taxes.

Council member Tennell Atkins was non-committal about the mayor's idea. "Once we're done with the city manager's recommended budget, we'll go back to the workshop and the budget. Everybody will have a right to put that amendment in there. We'll address all the issues in there."

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said in a statement, "I support Mayor Johnson's focus on service delivery and am always willing to consider ways to increase our efficiencies in an effort to free up funding that can be used to improve the daily lives of our residents."

Council member Lee Kleinman said while he always likes to explore ways the city can save money, he would wait and see what the mayor's budget amendment looks like and evaluate it then.

Council member Jennifer Gates praised the proposed budget and said while she is supportive of eliminating positions, she is hesitant about salary cuts.

Council member David Blewett said the mayor is right to look at the bureaucracy in terms of its size and salaries.

Council member Cara Mendelsohn agreed the city should be looking at potential salary cuts.

She said Broadnax did a good job with his budget proposal trying to create real change for communities in Dallas but that she doesn't see in the proposed budget real change to how city hall operates.

CBS 11 News left messages seeking comment from council members Casey Thomas, Carolyn King Arnold, Jaime Resendez, Omar Narvaez, Adam Bazaldua and Paula Blackmon but didn't hear back.

Attempts to reach Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano were also unsuccessful.

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