Your First Look at the City of Dallas FY2011-12 Budget, Which Includes a Water Bill Hike

Categories: City Hall
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On the other side is the budget briefing handed to media members when we arrived at City Manager Mary Suhm's fourth-floor conference room for a 3:45 meet-the-presser. Long story short: She managed to balance the budget without cutting too much, she said, thanks to the state taking less than originally expected and property-tax revenues not dropping as far as originally anticipated. The city's also seen 18 months' worth of slight increases in sales tax revenue. "I think it's a good budget," Suhm said after recapping the doc, which went to council earlier this afternoon.

Suhm has reduced the number of furlough days for city employees, from eight this year to five next. She's also budgeted for 200 new hires in the Dallas Police Department, and 200 more in Fire-Rescue, the latter to help offset overtime costs. The budget also includes funding 25 "hot spot" cameras in high-crime neighborhoods.

That said, there will be cuts: 100 city employees will be laid off, five pools will be closed "based on use and population" (she didn't say which ones; we'll have that shortly), Fruitdale and Marcus Annex rec centers will be shuttered (they're considered "small center").

Oh -- and your Dallas Water Utilities bill will increase by 5.9 percent, which Suhm guesstimates to be around $4.40 a month. It's not in the doc below. Mutli-tenant registration fees will also go up, from $6.51 to $10 per unit. The layoffs, said Suhm, will be scattered around City Hall, but hardest hit will be Park and Rec and libraries.

She said flow control wasn't factored into the budget, though it will come back before council on August 17. She also said Park and Rec maintenance will be privatized, and that the city is retooling its request for a proposal to privatize the downtown farmers market, as "all the construction and housing" taking planned around the market "makes it viable" to revisit the issue. The new farmers market RFP, she says, "will go out shortly." But plans to privatize the auto pound have been shelved: "The return's not worth the risk and the lack of control. People get grumpy when they can't find their car."

Suhm says most of the council members to whom she's shown the budget are OK with it, but she expects pushback may come in the library materials budget (she's added money back this year, "but it's still way down from its peak") and the pool closings. FY2011-12 Dallas City Budget
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25 comments
BCulbreath
BCulbreath

Water fee,Multi-tenant registration fee are all Tax. I wonder why Elected Officials think we are crazy.It would be better to just raise tax.When they finish with all these fees it will cost more then 6%.

Abby
Abby

It's nice to see all of you riled because of a rate increase of any kind.  Why don't you think about flow control and what the 15 million could do for Dallas; and BTW, the numbers are correct.  The added 5,000 tons per day of trash which goes out of the city to private landfills could come into Dallas, at $20 per ton for a "tipping" fee (dump fee).  This is real revenue for the city, and the extra traffic is minor.  In fact, it's a simple shot from the interstate to the landfill.  Don't let the PR campaign from the NSWMA fool you.  They don't want to lose any revenue, but have no intention of kicking in any of their HUGE profits.  We can get GREENER Dallas!

Lorlee
Lorlee

So if we privatize park and rec maintenance -- I expect it will be like the current trash pickup -- they end up getting paid minimum wage with no benefits.  Aren't we better than that?

heybrothercanyouspareadime
heybrothercanyouspareadime

Maybe this time around, CM Suhm will just focus on privatization of Shed 2 at Dallas Farmers Market.  This would represent the best approach to bring privatization to DFM and give CM Suhm's friend - Ms. Cobb time to gain experience with the DFM before consideration is given to bringing Sheds 1, 3 and 4 into the mix assuming anyone would want to have the open air sheds under private mgmt.   And, provide some time for the residential development to grow north of the Market.  

Seenitallbefore
Seenitallbefore

If Suhm can't find the money to keep a few swimming pools open with a budget of around one billion dollars then it is time to find someone who can.Holding these types of projects hostage to get her way is an act that is getting old and tired.  Flow control is a dead issue. Suhm needs to stop wasting her political capital trying to push this through. It will blow up in her face once the council discovers her staff has saddled her with accounting that would have made Enron proud. 

Bigmac Tony
Bigmac Tony

Well that's nice. It's not bad enough you get charged at least $50 a month in various fees and whether or not you use the trash service.. now they are going to gouge people even more.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Raising water rates will bring more money from other cities that use our water resources.  When our rates rise, the rates for other cities rises too.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Wonder where the budget would have been if they (the city council and staff) did not waste bond money (that the tax payers will have to repay -principal and interest) on that Trinity Toll Road (and related studies to keep it alive)? The city just (for the life of it) can't prioritize and manage their spending. I could cite many personal experiences of them (the city) wasting money. The most recent is that white water rapids thing in the Trinity that was screwed up. And they hide their incompetence behind water rate hikes. Did they not do so (back a few years ago) to lure AT&T to Dallas (with funds from the water department. Seem to remember a piece on that on Boyd's web page.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Talk of closing any pools during weather like this is practically criminal.

guest
guest

"Place 1 fire truck in reserve..."That means 1 less truck in service everyday.  Four less firefighters working every day.  That is a layoff no matter how you look at it.ISO ratings for the city already call for the department to ADD a truck, so now there is a chance the ISO rating for the city will suffer causing higher insurance premiums.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

"Mutli-tenant registration fees will also go up, from $6.51 to $10 per unit."

That would be a 54% tax hike.  Yes, it is a tax because the city provides zero services for this revenue.  So any government official, appointed or elected, who claims to not have raised taxes is lying through their teeth.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I want to make an idealistic point.  Privatizing common, competitive services is less problematic than privatizing more exclusive services.  Outsourcing pencils is not nearly as problematic as outsourcing military jets (which use national secrets) or Haliburton's military service contracts.  When a substantial proportion of a firms business comes from the gov't we enter perilous territory.  It's not necessarily wrong, but the pump is primed for abuse. 

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

If you don't like privatizing basic services so signature bridges and flooded toll roads can be built, then you don't want Dallas to be a world class city.

scottindallas
scottindallas

whether you use it or not, trash service comes to your house once a week.  I'd like to know how you generate no trash or sewage.

sratliff
sratliff

I too am sick of the multi-tenant fees going up each year.  When the program started in 2007, it was $2 per unit.  I would not care so much except it looks like a means to make up for budget short falls each year since its inception.  As landlords, we get nothing in return for paying these fees except being forced(or fined several hundred dollars) to see the same presentations every May at Fair Park Music Hall.  I guess its just another cost of doing business in Dallas.  Everybody has to get their cut.

lorlee
lorlee

oh, how silly of me.  Yes, of course, we must sacrifice basic decency in order to become world class. 

Bigmac Tony
Bigmac Tony

Private dumpster smart guy. My landlord pays for our trash collection. I pay for my neighbors trash collection through this mandatory charge.

pezhuevon
pezhuevon

I thought the multi-tenant registration was a service to renters - NOT to the landlords. It keeps landlords from letting their units deteriorate by inspecting a random sampling of units and making sure problems are addressed. Sounds like $10 bucks a year added to the rent is worth it.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Shame on you, lorlee.  Say three Hail Mary (Suhm's) and all will be forgiven.

scottindallas
scottindallas

it's all part of the same bill.  read your bill.

Bigmac Tony
Bigmac Tony

What are you not getting about this? You seem stupid

scottindallas
scottindallas

So you poop in bags and throw it in the dumpster?  Your dirty water you pour on your landlord's lawn?

scottindallas
scottindallas

you make an error in reasoning.  A $1/month hike in rental rates would/should be passed on in rent.  Actually yielding $500 in extra revenue for the apt.  Most likely the truth lies somewhere in between, which is really bitching about peanuts.  What is the value of properly funded city services?  Since this is a city-wide tax, the only competitive disadvantage would be against other cities.  Presumably, this is a nominal charge that should improve the financing of the city--which should off-set the competitive loss.  We have 21 condos, how will this affect you?

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

The $10 registration fee has absolutely nothing to do with inspections.  It is a plain and simple tax.  If an apartment complex has 250 units that translates to $2,500 in taxes.  Money that will not be available to use on upkeep of the complex.

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