Sam says it below, "The budget is easily the biggest issue." In the race for Dallas mayor, he means, which comes to its thrilling (?) conclusion, though probably not, beginning at 7 tonight, when we'll reconvene here for The World's Loneliest Watch Party. If he's right, if it all comes down to pocketbooks and promises of keeps and cuts, then feast your eyes: Late Friday night, City Hall posted the latest look at what's coming -- the first FY2011-12 budget update since January, and the first that hints at what City Manager Mary Suhm's having trouble funding and considering eliminating.
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All numbers and suggestions are subject to change, of course; a more comprehensive presentation is due June 15, before council goes on summer vacation. But right now, without knowing what the state might keep or take and what the feds'll do, Suhm's guesstimating a $79.3 million gap between FY2011-12 revenues and expenses. Hence, the usual breakdown of items that should stay, others that really oughta get funded "should revenue become available" (some $59.3 million in services and staff), and another $20 mil in "lower priority" items last in line to be rescued, and, from the sound of it, already left for dead:
After reducing or eliminating bids/services determined to be Lower Priority Services, differential between revenues and expenditures is currently forecast to be ($59.3m). Combination of strategies is necessary to eliminate ($59.3m) forecasted differential.
What isn't funded that should be? Well: "Police recruitment, personnel, academy and in‐service training based on police officer hiring plan to be implemented in FY 2011-12." And: "43% of slurry seal and 28% of micro‐surfacing streets in order to maintain FY 2010‐11 level." And: "2 additional recreation centers would increase the number of centers open to 31 compared to 43 in the current year." And: "Park land maintenance would increase the amount funded to 82% of current funding level." Also: "Add compliance officer and contract for independent review of EMS billing." (Because.)
Here's a much more detailed breakdown, 109 pages I know you're dying to read on what's supposed to be a beautiful Saturday. See you at the Homegrown, right? After you vote, of course. Then tonight at around 7. BYOB, sorry.