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Dallas Budget Writers Deliver Bad News

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By BJ Austin, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-843978.mp3

Dallas, TX –

Pink slips may soon be flying around Dallas City Hall as council members grapple with a 190 million dollar budget shortfall. KERA's BJ Austin says the City Manager is proposing some painful cuts.

Under the latest budget proposal, library and Rec Center hours would shrink to nearly half. Park maintenance would be cutback. 3-1-1 calls would only be answered weekdays 7 to 7. Street repairs would be delayed. Police overtime cut. And, funding for the Arts, senior services; and health programs would be cut or eliminated.

The city's chief financial officer Dave Cook says hundreds of layoffs are part of the plan.

Cook: At this point we estimate that 785 employees would receive layoff notices. That is roughly 19% of our civilian workforce in the general fund, nearly one out of every five.

City Manager Mary Suhm says even with those cuts, there's still a 38 million dollar gap, and it could get worse.

Suhm: The end of July when we get the property tax base, we hope that the decrease is not more than 5%, which is the number that we're using in this budget.

Suhm will present a final budget proposal August 10th. Then council members will hold town hall meetings to hear from citizens. The final vote is in September.

Email BJ Austin