Mesquite, TX – October 13, 2021 – The City of Mesquite’s new budget includes additions for public safety, city streets and cybersecurity. Additions include 15 new police and fire positions, more funding for street and alley maintenance and better protection of electronic data. While the property tax rate will remain the same as last year, because of increased property values, the City will see increased revenues. This is how the City proposes to pay for these additional services. State law requires that Mesquite voters approve this year’s tax rate which exceeds the 3.5% voter-approval tax rate. Proposition A will be on the November 2 Ballot for Mesquite voters to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the proposition. Early Voting is Oct. 18 - 29 and Election Day is Nov. 2. Voters can visit www.cityofmesquite.com/2021TaxElection for more information.
In recent community surveys, Mesquite residents expressed that public safety, streets and infrastructure are their top priorities.
- 66% of citizens stated maintenance of city streets was a very high priority.
- 62% of citizens stated quality police and fire services was a high priority.
- Public Safety and Street Maintenance were ranked by citizens as the biggest issues Mesquite will face in the next five years.
If Proposition A is approved by voters, the average homeowner would pay about $10 more per month in City taxes based on the average single-family home property value in Mesquite. The tax rate would not impact property owners who have qualified for the Age 65 or Older Homestead Exemption with their property appraiser.
The City’s fiscal year budget includes:
- Five new police officer positions for increased neighborhood patrols plus competitive pay increases for officers. Currently, the Mesquite Police Department has 13 vacancies and ranks 13th out of 24 cities in the DFW metroplex for starting pay.
- Ten new fire department positions which will provide faster response times and increase public safety. In 2020, the Mesquite Fire Department responded to more than 19,000 calls for services and ranks 10th out of 24 cities in the DFW metroplex for starting pay.
- Increased funding repairs for roadways and alley maintenance by $750,000. The funds are in the City’s general maintenance budget to repair streets and alleys affected by the severe weather conditions of droughts, heavy rains, and 100+ degree temperatures.
- Increased funding of $260,000 to improve security from cyberattacks on City computers that have sensitive data and access to operations, as well as the public’s personal information. The program includes City staff and private security for monitoring, alerts for attempted attacks and analysis of emerging cyberattack trends.
- A new health scan program for police officers and firefighters as a part of cancer screening and overall health assessment for earlier detection of any health issues.
- A new safety program for the Peachtree entertainment and restaurant area, which includes staffing for localized patrol in that area for specific hours and days of the week to enhance security.
- A School Resource Officer for the new Vanguard High School.
- Competitive pay for City employees working in streets, solid waste, and utilities to attract and maintain staffing levels.
The voter approval tax rate (which generates the same revenue as last budget year plus 3.5%) is .6656 and generates $1.5M in additional revenue. The current tax rate is .70862 and will generate $5.4M in additional revenue.
City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “The primary focus of this election is public safety, streets and cybersecurity. We are a growing city of more than 40 square miles and a population of more than 150,000 residents. We are adding new neighborhoods with more than 10,000 new homes during the next few years. Our priorities are always going to be public safety and streets. We are budgeting for the services the citizens have stated are most important to them. If Proposition A does not pass, we will continue to budget funding for more police and fire staff, as well as funding for street and alley repairs, it will just be at a slower pace.”
The City hosted a public meeting on Oct. 7 to address public questions about the tax election. A video replay is available on the tax election webpage. It has two public meetings planned for Oct. 14, Rutherford Senior Center, 900 Rutherford Drive and Oct. 26, City Hall, 757 N. Galloway Avenue. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.