Suhm to Tell City Council: Do Not Live Large, and Think a Little Smaller

Seems like we were just here, hashing over the city's budget. But as you may have read -- and may have guessed -- FY2009-10 is already shaping up to be a) lousy, b) godawful, c) yech or d) all of the above. Which is why, at this morning's Dallas City Council briefing session, City Manager Mary Suhm will present the Initial Revenue and Expenditure Outlook for next fiscal year, when she anticipates "little to no growth in property tax base" and a "potential decline in sales tax revenue." And if those don't deplete the budget, there are other possible problems on the horizon as well.

Add to that $18 million set aside for the hiring of 200 additional police officers in FY09-10 and $30 million in debt service for the 2006 bond program, not to mention other millions expected in expenses, and it's a potentially big problem. Of course, "all amounts are preliminary and subject to change," as the document reminds; and it's early in the process. Still, "reductions" is the catchphrase for 2009. Less is the new more.

Unless it's someone else's dough-re-mi.

Because, see, the council is full of the requisite hope and change as it holds its breath and sticks out its hands and waits for the government to pony up some stimulus millions for those "Ready to Go" projects we mentioned last month. Only, don't hold your breath. The first page of the Federal Economic Stimulus Package briefing contains all you need to know about where this is most likely headed -- elsewhere:

  • There is no crystal ball....we simply do not know what Congress and President-elect Obama will ultimately do.
  • We do not know the specific parameters of any economic stimulus legislation -- funding categories, time frames, criteria, etc.
  • Most of the Federal stimulus funding could go to the states, rather than directly to local governments.
  • Comparatively, Texas and Dallas are in much better financial shape than most other states and cities.
  • Much of the funding may be aimed at reinvigorating states that have lost industrial jobs such as Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Oh, and there's some passenger rail briefing too this morning -- sounds like something right up Schutze's dark alley. And a Workforce Inclusion Plan, which I stopped reading when I hit the line, on Page 7, "As individuals, we are all diverse." --Robert Wilonsky