One month ago, City Manager Mary Suhm warned the city council: It's early, very early, but it's looking like the city could be short anywhere from $49 million to $87 million when it comes to putting together the FY2012-13 budget. And one month before that, Suhm warned the city council: It's early, very early, but it's looking like the city can only afford a bond package worth $450 million to $550 million. And that's just for "absolutely critical stuff," she told the council. Like, say, flood protection. And street repairs. And economic development. Everything else, she said, would have to wait.
That brings us to this: Late Friday night, after the fireworks had fizzled over the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, the city dispatched to media its weekly stack of memos. This week's was thicker than usual, with 11 out of the 54 pages devoted entirely to bond- and budget-related questions posted by council in the last two months. Among the Q's: How much will we spend on striping the streets next year? What's the guesstimated impact of rising gas prices? How high's our debt service? A's provided below.
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But for our purposes, let's focus on one subject that's always a point of contention amongst some Friends of Unfair Park: operating and maintenance costs associated with capital projects. Because, as many of you like to point out, the city builds and builds and builds, but often has trouble paying for the upkeep. Or turning on the fountains at Fair Park more than once every other special occasion.
There's a chart below outlining the O&M cost increases for FY2012-13 for everything from the set-to-bow-in-September City Performance Hall ($227,036) to the Elm Fork Soccer Complex ($345,750) to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge ($233,000) to the Woodall Rodgers Tunnel ($428,480) to the Main Street Garden dog park and fountain ($110,000). The O&M for parks, rec centers and cultural facilities alone is guesstimated to run $1.9 million; the grand total, $4.5 million.