By BEN TRAN and ROBYN H. JIMENEZ
The Dallas Examiner
During the Dallas City Council meeting held April 7, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax briefed the Council members on his goals for the year. He informed the group that he and his team originally planned to present the goals in March but had to reschedule due to the severe winter storm.
He announced that he would provide the framework and Chief of Staff Kimberly Bizor Tolbert would provide the details.
“Last year, at the City Council’s planning session, Council members identified several big, audacious goals in each of the city’s eight strategic priority areas,” Broadnax explained. “As we previously discussed, these are long-term goals and we will need to focus our efforts and resources over multiple years, perhaps even decades or more to achieve them. With these goals in mind, I worked with my entire city management team to develop 125 annual goals that move us in the right direction, which I sent to you via memorandum in January of 2021.
“These goals span all strategic priorities and services that we offer, and they align with several initiatives currently underway, including The Real Change and Action Items that were included in the 2021 adopted budget.”
The city manager said he and his team then chose 25 key goals to emphasize.
“We really wanted to focus attention on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going,” Tolbert explained. As you will recall, the last City Council retreat was in Feb. 2020. And then in March – March 4, 2020 – we came back to the City Council and gave you really a debriefing around the retreat and provided a recap of what we coined our ‘Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals,’ our BHAGs. We also advised that we would be utilizing the BHAGs, mapping the BHAGs to the strategic priorities and then developing the city manager’s goals in alignment with the BHAGs and the priorities.”
She said the city manger’s team would continue to provide the Council members with updates as they moved forward with their goals and planning efforts.
She said the team focused on the vision for “One Dallas” as it developed eight strategic priorities.
BHAGs list of 120 goals, with 25 as key priorities:
Work to decrease the ratio of property values between the North and Southern Sector of Dallas, decreasing the disparity between the two. Mixed income neighborhoods will also benefit by being resourced for living in equitable prosperity. Companies move here for the skilled and talented workforce Dallas provides.
– Top goals
All the economic development goals below are estimated to be complete by December 2021.
- Complete and implement the Economic Development Strategic Plan.
- Establish and implement an independent economic development entity to facilitate economic development, marketing, branding and public/private partnerships.
- Create a new Economic Development Policy, including recommended amendments to incentive programs such as Chapter 380 loans and grants, tax abatements, the TIF and PID programs and the NEZ program.
- Develop an RFCSP to hire a third-party consultant to complete an efficiency and staffing study of the building and permitting functions of the City.
- Design and develop a building permit and land use planning/management system to improve the review and end-to-end permitting process.
- Develop an RFCSP to hire a third-party consultant to design and implement a self-certification program for engineers and architects; or design and implement third-party plan review, including strategies to enhance options for review of building permits for certain projects.
Environment and sustainability
Make city a worldwide leader in clean, sustainable land, air and water – people will be healthier. By keeping an equitable, responsible stewardship of solid waste, Broadnax promises to make the neighborhoods of Dallas cleaner, as well.
– Top goal:
The following goal is estimated to be complete by September 2021.
- Analyze City’s history of purchasing goods and services to develop a comprehensive Sustainable Procurement Plan for City operations and establish a sustainable procurement policy as part of achieving Goal 4 (zero waste community) of the CECAP work plan for this fiscal year.
Government performance and financial management
Make city a national leader in municipal technology and data. By 2035, elevate Dallas to a 100% state of good repair of all city assets and infrastructure, such as streets, facilities, parks, trails, IT and traffic signals.
The highest possible credit rating of AAA is the goal.
– Top goal:
The following goal is estimated to be complete by August 2021.
- Prepare and present a balanced General Fund budget for FY 2021-22 and include a planned budget for FY 2022-23.
Housing and homelessness solutions
Provide city with attractive, affordable and available – referred to as AAA housing – in all neighborhoods. Dallas’ city-owned land would be used to create connected and safe communities. Make the city a national model for functioning zero homelessness.
– Top goals:
- Establish and implement a “fee in lieu of” onsite affordable housing production to provide an alternative to satisfy housing requirements and provide an additional local funding source to finance affordable housing.
- Review the City’s panhandling ordinance for revisions and opportunities to improve enforcement and compliance and address quality of life issues.
- Acquire and/or financially support at least four turnkey properties to facilitate rapid rehousing and associated wraparound services for individuals or families experiencing homelessness.
Make city a safer community, with coordinated and engaged partnerships, as well as becoming the national model for data-driven policing. Honing the city’s efforts on rehabilitation and diversion programs will make Dallas a safer place to be.
– Top goals:
- Develop and implement a recovery services center to divert public intoxication cases from jail with a goal of helping residents identify and manage substance use disorders.
- Update and implement the violent crime reduction plan for 2021.
- Successfully onboard all civilians budgeted for FY 2020-21 to increase DPD’s civilian-to-sworn staffing ratio to 18%.
- Implement an Early Warning System for police officers to identify appropriate interventions to support officer wellness and officer accountability.
- Execute DPD internal improvement projects directed toward improving the culture of the department, including a cultural assessment, use of force team, and launching the Active Bystander for Law Enforcement training program – known as ABLE training.
- Develop and implement a civilian crisis intervention and mobile crisis response program in lieu of police officers to support residents with direct service navigation for behavioral health and/or other social services.
- Successfully expand the RIGHT Care program and establish a citywide response system with a goal of responding to half of eligible mental health calls annually once fully implemented.
- Establish a violence interruption program with credible partners to serve as mentors and conflict resolution experts to curb violence in high-crime neighborhoods.
- Implement a program to address abandoned properties, vacant lots, insufficient lighting, and substandard structures in areas identified via Risk Terrain Modeling in partnership with Code Compliance and Transportation.
Quality of life, arts and culture
Make Dallas a city of age-friendliness and livability, with people coming to Dallas for its arts and culture. In turn, youth development, outreach and mentorship programs will be made accessible through out the city, as well.
– Top goal:
The following goal is estimated to be complete by July 2021.
- Establish and implement a citywide illegal dumping and blight abatement strategic plan.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Make the city a leader in hassle-free mobility and world-class infrastructure known for its quality, reliability and equitable delivery.
– Top goals:
- Design and implement an unserved area water and wastewater infrastructure extension program to extend potable water and sanitary sewer facilities to all residents in unserved areas of the city within the next 10 years.
- Update the Bicycle Master Plan and develop an implementation and funding strategy.
Workforce, education and equity
With a goal of becoming a national model for a future-proof workforce, make Dallas the most equitable city in the U.S. In order to do that, students of all backgrounds will have access to quality education.
– Top goals:
- Update the City’s Equity Indicators and develop an action plan and targeted strategies to address disparities identified in the report and develop a comprehensive racial equity plan in collaboration with community partners.
- Develop and implement a Financial Empowerment Center and sustainability program to help low-income residents navigate out of poverty and achieve financial stability.
Broadnax and his staff plan on aligning the goals with the Dallas City Council committee work plans. Quarterly updates will be given on the top 25 goals and a briefing update of all 120 goals will be given in October.
During a two-hour comment and question session that followed the presentation, many City Council members expressed what they thought the budget did not go far enough toward reaching the city’s goals, such as street maintenance and safety. Broadnax reminded the group of his limited budget, especially in certain areas of concern. He suggested that some budgets might need to be adjusted in order to meet the city’s growing needs.
Still some members expressed that the current report didn’t answer various important questions.
“In transportation, the big question is ‘Are we increasing safety?’ Are we meeting our vision zero goals? And that’s in every mode of transportation. And I don’t feel like we’ve answered that question through these processes,” Cara Mendelsohn of District 12 pointed out. “In housing and homelessness, we didn’t answer the big question, ‘Are we reducing homelessness?’ Are we producing more housing units? In public safety, we didn’t answer the big question, ‘Are we a safer city?’ Are we meeting those goals? And what I would say is that I would like you to bring me back, for another discussion with Council after the new Council is seated, so that we can work together to meet these important challenges.”
Other members emphasized the city’s need to bridge the gap between communities.
“In closing, to the Council, Mr. Broadnax and staff, what I will say and would love to continue to work with staff on this point, I believe slide 15 deals with equity,” said Councilwoman Carolyn Arnold of District 4. “We all rallied behind the concept of equity resolution, I think last week. So for us here in District 4, in order for us to make this One Dallas – we talked about in that retreat – we want to have some of the resources that are reflected in some of the other fortunate districts. And so as I speak on equity, I need to speak on, yes, public safety so that we can sustain our environments here so that we don’t have businesses that once they get here, they leave. So we need to have that commitment and a new model. We need to have housing equity; economic development choices, which create jobs; sustainable infrastructure. We want access to healthy community projects and resources, access to health care and access to environmental elements that can prolong our life and protect our ecosystem.
“So these are some of the conversations that we’re going to have to have when we talk about equity and moving toward One Dallas.”
She further stated that however uncomfortable some of the conversations and decisions might be for some of the Council members, the Council made a commitment toward equity for all of Dallas.
“We need to commit to righting the wrongs that have been created by our predecessors with policies and practices and programs that were pushed by systemic racism. The programs that came out were designed to exclude certain communities in order to set them up for failure,” Arnold stated before reiterating her commitment to equity.