October opens the new fiscal year and states, and cities across the country are preparing their annual budgets for the upcoming year. This time, this annual process overlaps with the midterm elections in November and government spending tends to be a prominent talking point in the political discourse.
In Texas, support and funding of law enforcement have been central topics for the upcoming elections, with Governor Abbott recently accusing his opponent Beto O’Rourke and other Democratic leaders in the state of trying to defund the police. Yet public budgets of purple and blue cities across the DFW area tell a different story.
In Collin County, 7 cities have increased their budgets for law enforcement.
The city of Plano’s operating budget for the police sits at over $88 million, which represents 24.5% of the $360 million operating budget making the police force the best-funded functional area of the city. Year-over-year the Plano police budget has increased by almost 8% since the previous fiscal year.
In Garland, the proposed budget increases police funds by 8.2%, reaching $67.4 million, some 5.1 million dollars more than the previous year. According to public records, the increase in funding will be used to cover the rise in the cost of body-worn cameras and taser cartridges as well as ballistic shield protection.
The Frisco police department will see its funding increase by 7% from last year, with a budget of $56.3 million, 26% of the city’s general budget, which will cover the hire of 19 new police officers as well as the replacement of patrol equipment. “The addition of these positions will allow the Department to keep staffing in line with city growth and staff new patrol districts that will provide the expected level of service to our citizens and keep response times low,” states the city’s budget presentation.
The county seat of McKinney proposed a 7.8% increase in their law enforcement, with a total of $47.45 million dedicated to the police department for additional equipment and staffing.
Following the biggest spenders, we have Carrollton and Allen, with an increase of 3.9% and 8% respectively. In all seven cases, police funding represents between 24 to 27% of the cities’ general budget. The one exception is Richardson, where police funding only represents 10% of the total city funding, even after increasing by 12% from the last fiscal year, the biggest increase in police funding in the county.
In case you missed it, here’s Local Profile’s report on the Frisco police warning residents about bizarre robberies.