City Hall

City Hall's Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, VERY Early Look at Next Fiscal Year's Budget Gap

For those who forgot the phrase "Meet and Confer," you may want to reintroduce yourself to the city's agreement with Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue that saved the city $22 million during the "painful, painful, painful" dog days of 2010, when Mary Suhm had to gut $131 million from the budget. In the end, per docs just posted to the city's website, Meet and Confer saved the city around $26 million in recent years. But the bill's coming due next fiscal year -- to the tune of a possible $28.7 million due those who took their cuts to help a brother out.

That's but one expense the city manager and CFO Jeanne Chipperfield want to warn council about Wednesday, when, during just the second of many budget workshops to come, they'll walk them through the PowerPoint below that says, look, if y'all want to eliminate mandatory leave days, give the AT&T Performing Arts Center all of its money, restore funding to closed rec centers, bump the library materials budget, it's going to cost you. Around, oh, $50 to $60 million. And depending on how the tax rolls roll in come May and how much we pocket in sales taxes (a figure that's still on the rise) and how much surplus property the city can sell off and a whole bunch of other stuff, there could be a budget shortfall. Around, oh, $48.9 million to $87 million.

But this is early-days stuff -- seven months before Suhm even presents her proposed budget. Just keep in mind: "Forecasts are very preliminary and will change before FY 2012-13 budget is recommended on Aug 13." Still, look out below.