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Dallas City Manager Worries About Budget Cuts & Nightly Roundup

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm laid out next year's preliminary budget that could be at least $40 million in the red. That's even though some tax revenues are rebounding.

She warned of eventual program cuts and lay-offs. But Suhm also worried about federal and especially state cuts not reflected in the preliminary budget.

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Suhm: There's lots of conversations about sharing our revenue possibly. Franchise revenues and also cutting off what little money we do get from the state.

For example, Suhm says Dallas gets $350,000 from Texas for libraries, but libraries aren't funded in the current state budget.

Dallas Defers XTO Permit Extension

Dallas city council has overwhelmingly deferred a drilling permit that XTO Energy wanted for its Grand Prairie site at Hensley Field and the old Naval Air Station.

The Exxon Mobil subsidiary already paid for a 2 year lease but hasn't drilled there yet for natural gas.

Council member David Neumann, represents the district and requested the deferment.

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Neumann: Our goal clearly should be to go slow, be smart, but be fair. We need to respond to science not the politics. Safety within a proposed staging area, safety in the surrounding area, and safety for our environment.

Every citizen who spoke worried about air, water and noise pollution, and also about the undisclosed chemicals in the shale fracturing or "fracking" process used to release the gas.

Border security survives first round of Texas cuts

One area of state government has survived the initial round of cuts: border security.

Budget writers tries to spare spending on border security operations while scaling back heavily on education, college funding and health care programs for the poor.

The lead House budget writer, Rep. Jim Pitts, said Wednesday the decision reflects a commitment to "ensure the safety of all Texans."

Texas is facing a $15 billion revenue shortfall, but that number could be as high as $27 billion when population and enrollment growth are taken into consideration.

The current budget has at least $40.8 million in spending for border security. sues Texas for sales tax audit

Online retail giant is suing the state of Texas to produce the audit report on which the state based its demand for $269 million in uncollected sales taxes.

The state made the demand of the Seattle-based retailer in September, citing the sales tax audit. The Austin American-Statesman reports the comptroller's office is withholding the audit report, backed by a Dec. 16 attorney general's opinion that it was protected by attorney-client privilege.

The state contends that is on the hook for the sales taxes not collected on Texas online sales because Amazon has a distribution center in Irving, a Dallas suburb. Other companies with retail outlets or other types of physical presence collect sales taxes on its online sales.

Official: Search for missing Texas girl expands

An official says authorities looking for a missing 13-year-old West Texas girl are searching empty buildings and using dogs to scour additional landfills in the area.

City Manager Pete Kampfer in Colorado City says buildings in nearby Scurry and Mitchell counties were included in the search for Hailey Darlene Dunn. He declined to be more specific and wouldn't name additional landfills.

Kampfer has said that evidence was found recently at a landfill in Abilene, 70 miles east of Colorado City, where Hailey was reported missing Dec. 28.

No arrests have been made.

The former live-in boyfriend of Hailey's mother has been named among several people of interest in the case. Shawn Adkins has denied any involvement in Hailey's disappearance.