Saturday, September 8, 2012

Swimming pools, branch libraries and the Dallas Summer Musicals: how the city ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

As Steve notes below, Vonciel Jones Hill has submitted to Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm an intriguing amendment to the proposed FY2012-13 budget: adding outsted muni judges back to the payroll using part-timers’ pay. But hers is just one proposal among several up for a vote at Monday’s budget briefing at Dallas City Hall: Below you’ll find the entirety of the amendments offered by council members, many of whom want to use a projected increase in Oncor’s franchise fees (worth a guesstimated $329,440, to be precise-ish) to subsidize pet projects, including adding back library hours and sending a stack of bills to the Dallas Summer Musicals.

Jerry Allen, for instance, wants to lift $200,000 from the Oncor fund to “collaborate with United Way to leverage free tax preparation, via the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, to increase the number of working families who claim the earned income tax credit.” Sheffie Kadane aims even higher, requesting $320,523 to tweak the hours at branch libraries that have seen their doors close early and often thanks to recent budget shortfalls. He wants to move the 6 p.m. closing time to 7 p.m.

Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Monica Alonzo, Delia Jasso, Ann Margolin and Pauline Medrano recommend using $200,000 in Oncor dollars to keep the pools open longer â€" a subject near and dear to Caraway’s heart, especially. Their proposal calls for upping the number of days pools are open at Samuell Grand, H.R. Moore, Bonnie View, Glendale and Exline from two days a week to five. Those same council members, Davis excluded, also want to offer $100,000 in Oncor bucks to the Office of Cultural Affairs for arts orgs â€" and to help cover the office’s operating expenses. And if that $100,000 won’t work, say Tennell Atkins, Jasso, Davis and Caraway, then how about half that?

Atkins, Jasso, Caraway, Hill, Davis, Kadane and Allen are the ones proposing giving $50,000 to the Dallas Summer Musicals â€" which, of course, take place at the city-owned Music Hall at Fair Park, which DSM uses rent-free till at least 2029. As you may recall, in December the DSM announced it’s more or less facing a state of fiscal emergency, with chairman of the board Michael Steindorf telling Michael Granberry that DSM had all but exhausted its $4-million rainy-day fund of about $4 million after losing $1 million in ’09 and twice that the year after. Back then the DSM was launching a $5-million capital campaign, in large part due to the competition from … other city-owned venues coming online, among them …

Per a memo sent to council August 24, this year the city will fund its full obligation to the AT&T Performing Arts Center â€" $2.5 million in “appropriations for utilities, ordinary repair and maintenance of the city-owned facilities.” That same memo notes: “The City Performance Hall operating cost in FY13 is $864,602 and revenue is estimated to be $175,000,” referring to the latest venue the city will bow next week. “Revenue is expected to increase and cover approximately 50% of the expenses within a few years of full operation.”

The council members’ memos follow, along with further background on a few items mentioned above.

Friday, September 7, 2012 Council Memos(1)

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