We told you Friday: Very, very, very, very early guesstimates at City Hall have the city short anywhere from $49 million to $87 million when it comes to putting together the FY2012-13 budget. City Manager Mary Suhm repeated that this morning: "We're very early in the process." The city's chief financial offer, Jeanne Chipperfield, added to that: "We anticipate a number of changes" before the final number's nailed down. At which point she walked the council through the PowerPoint we powerpointed you to at week's end.
Suhm chimed in about a few specific items, such as giving raises and cutting out those furlough days. Said the city manager, two years' worth of layoffs have "left people doing a great deal more work than we had before ... and it's very important we recognize that burden." Because, said Suhm, "as the economy recovers they have options" to go elsewhere, and she's concerned about losing 'em to the private sector.
And when it comes to upping dollars for street-striping and sign replacement: "It's a safety issue, and there's no way not to get this done this year." Ann Margolin said she's talked to two Dallas County commissioners about using some matching funds from the county; Suhm said, yup, we're lookin' at that. "Bike lane striping too." Ah.
Linda Koop, channeling Dwaine Caraway, asked Suhm: So, how much money has the city made now that beer and wine sales are allowed citywide? Suhm said she had no idea. "Any idea at all?" Koop pressed.
"I could give you my personal idea but not much otherwise," Suhm said. "It just shifted things around. I may be wrong about that." But, she made sure to note: "You'll have grocery stores in parts of the city and Sam's where they weren't before" the November 2010 referendum. "So that is an increment you will achieve."
Council didn't have much to say about this sneak peek. And Margolin was the only one to note the giant waste-hauling elephant in the room, asking Suhm whether the budget predictions include the $15 million to $18 million promised upon the enactment of the flow control ordinance supposed to kick in last month but shot down yesterday.
"Not in here," said Suhm. "Never was."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.