City Hall

As Dallas City Manager Inches Closer Toward a Proposed Budget, Some Revealing Insights

Dallas City Council remains on vacation till August (well, not everyone), but City Manager Mary Suhm and her staff remain at work needing to trim $20 million more out of the FY2011-12 budget to balance that sucker. Hence the memos sent to the council and mayor last night: One deals with just some of the cuts to come; the other, with how to fill in the dollar-bill blanks.

Rest assured: The following Q&A and attachments are hardly a dull read; they even offer a little insight into City Hall's workings, if only between the lines. Take this query at the top of Page 3, for instance: "Provide additional information on potential sale of Elgin B. Robertson Park at Lake Ray Hubbard?" Oh, really? Because it was on the ballot just last November, when Dallas voted to get wet. Precisely 96,011 voters -- or, more than three times the number that elected Mike Rawlings mayor last month -- put the kibosh the Elgin B. Robertson sale; 81,957 were in favor. Now, which council member asked that question?

And, did you know: The city's trying to get the county to agree to "add a fee to motor vehicle registration to pay for part of school crossing guard program?" Apparently, the city and Dallas County Commissioners Court are still chatting it out over adding a $1.50 "child safety fee" to the motor vehicle registration; the county's yet to say yes. Guess it depends on the equity.

Also provided ...

... are precise proposed cuts to cultural centers, a breakdown of the cost of the MLK Day parade, this random library factoid ("DVDs are a popular format for library patrons; while they make up 7% of the collection, they account for nearly 30% of circulation"), talk of how to close three rec centers in the coming fiscal year, an explanation how the Dallas Farmers Market's $6.6-million redo's coming following the '06 bond election (it's not, as potential privatization stepped in the way) and a lengthy list of other '06 bond projects completed or canceled.

Then there's the fine print about which the wonkier Friends of Unfair Park often have questions -- like, say, what are the debt service costs for FY2010 ($282,863,468, which includes actual principal and interest payment) and the projections for FY2011 ($248,083,224 in guesstimated principal and interest payment)?

After that comes the second half of the memo package: a lengthy Q&A about how the city collects its money. The county too, which uses Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, which ... sounds familiar. Where my tin foil hat at?July 15 2011 Memos

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky