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Dallas Considers Tough Budget Cuts

By BJ Austin

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-843694.mp3

Dallas, TX – The latest "budget briefing" for Dallas City Council members today is NOT good news. KERA's BJ Austin says even with cuts in services and hundreds of layoffs recommended, the budget will still be 38 million dollars short.

The budget recommendations from the City Manager include cuts in street repair, park maintenance, rec center hours and programs for seniors. The downtown Central Library would be closed Sunday and Monday. Branch libraries would be limited to 23 hours a week. 19% of the city's civilian workforce will be laid off. That's 785 people.

City Council member Linda Koop says the proposed cuts are a mixed bag for her constituents.

Koop: North Dallas, they've made their desires know for police and fire protection. So, I think they'll be satisfied that those are not going to be cut. You know, they love parks and they love our libraries. I think that will be and I've gotten phone calls on that already. So, I think they'll be very disappointed in that.

City Manager Mary Suhm says libraries and rec centers may have to CLOSE temporarily to make up the final 38 million in red ink.

Neighborhood town hall meetings on the difficult budget begin in August. A final vote comes in September.