Monday, August 13, 2012

Dallas City Council gets first look at 'easiest budget' in years - WFAA



Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM

DALLAS - The Dallas City Council got its first look at the proposed 2012-13 budget Monday morning and liked what it saw.

Council member Ann Margolin, who represents northwest Dallas, said it was the "easiest budget" she has seen in four years and said it speaks to how the economy is turning around.

City Manager Mary Suhm's $2.5 billion budget does not raise the property tax rate and doesn't raise the residential garbage pick up fee. It does call for a water rate fee hike that would be about an extra $3.60 per month for most residential customers.

Suhm said the water rate must go up to maintain and expand the system of 9,000 miles of water and waste water mains.

City employees will no longer have to take unpaid furlough days and will get raises.

On public safety, the budget pays for 200 new police officers and 90 firefighters to replace those who leave each year.

After three years of property tax base declines that led to cuts of tens of millions of dollars, values turned positive again by 2.06 percent. Along with rising sales tax revenue, Suhm is asking to add $28 million the general fund to just over $1 billion.

Unlike those years in which tensions rose among council members on what or what not to cut, questions were few and none were pointed regarding Suhm's budget.

Council member Delia Jasso, who represents much of the Oak Cliff neighborhoods, agreed with Margolin that this proposed budget was the "easiest" than the tough times during the recession.

After town hall meetings this month, council members vote on the budget in September that becomes effective October 1.


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