Memos to the Council: This Week, Filling In a Few Big Blanks in the FY2011-12 Budget

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Photo by Harry Wilonsky
Just what you wanted to kick off your Labor Day Weekend -- 16 pages' worth of budget Q's and A's prepared for the City Manager's Office for the city council following the August 8 budget briefing. There are 49 questions, all told, ranging from Big Picture to footnotes that flesh out the tale. For instance: One details the exact number of pink slips being handed out at Dallas City Hall (119 people will lose their jobs, with 356 total positions being eliminated) and from which departments (53 laid off in code compliance, 19 in libraries, 10 in the auditor's office and so forth). But, further down, another Q&A concerning parks maintenance explains that once mowing and trash pick-up becomes privatized, "there could be a potential mid-year reduction in force of up to 70 employees."

The memo fills in a few blanks concerning, among other things, the city's financial commitment to the AT&T Performing Arts Center; the ramifications of meet and confer coming due next budget (the city will owe police and fire folk at least $38 million by FY2012-13); a time line concerning the downtown muni court's makeover; plans to sell Elgin B. Robertson, which voters already nixed in November; how privatizing park maintenance will wind up reducing mowing, track pick-up and replacing athletic field lighting; and the impact of eliminating 84 library positions ("customers can expect a reduction in the variety and and number of programs offered and one-on-one service").

There's bonus material as well: The memo opens with a page of minority contracting figures, sans any context whatsoever; and has a few pages related to a dust-up between Mary Suhm and Dallas Fire-Rescue dispatch over scheduling. Jump. Might as well. You're paying for this stuff. 9-2.2011 memos
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Watchdogdallas
Watchdogdallas

Robert,

Please do an open records search to identify each of the recipients of the funds in 2010 which are outlined on page 2 of the Scribd document attached to your story.  That's the sort of transparency we need at the City.  Your readers will then go to work and research the connections, etc.  ( unless you still have an intern) Any citizen can request, but the City will bury them with objections and AG requests.  Should be a easily generated report from the City database.  Is there a similar report for Dallas County?

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

Can't believe the city is laying off 84 people from the library, which already ranks one of the lowest in the country. No offense, but OK City and Tulsa is leading Dallas; in comparison to the size and resources rather than the people (want to be clear on my comparison). Its ironic how education and access to knowledge is being destroyed, specifically in Texas. I would hate to see a society began to depend on the internet for knowledge. There is no substitute for books.  Then, the City is getting rid of Code Compliance. Now I guess my neighbors can buy more pigs, ducks, and turkeys, and add on dangerous additions to their house that continues to go unotice. How can a city allow Single Family Homes to become Multifamily dwellings in single family communities. I'm going to open up a coffee cafe in my backyard as soon as the layoffs arkick in. No one will ever know. This way I can serve coffee to the people who come over to wait on their turkey and ducks  to be slaughtered.

How about reducing the hours of operation at the recreations centers during the school year or using those extra hours to generate revenue to help save a few jobs. If the rec centers would provide activiites with a fee, maybe the city can recover potential revenues.  Have community events with a fee, maybe even set up office/conference space rental for the hundred of new business that will be started in the coming years.

Speaking of small business, the general fund budget for Small Business Initiatives is higher than the budget to develope new City business and to redevelop communities. What is costing so much in this department for initiatives for small business when only a few small business actually get work from the city. I support the city for getting rid of waste but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Ed D.
Ed D.

So the Performing Arts Center gets its millions while parks, libraries, pools, and such get the shaft? And the Mayor wants to give the PAC more money, too?

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Well, if the Park Cities aren't going to contribute, someone has to fill in the gap.

("Regionalism" only applies when the City of Dallas contributes to projects outside the City's borders... Not the reverse)

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

someone took an S

Paul
Paul

I'll bet Wai-Wize can find one ... for a low low price, including consulting fees ...

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