Dallas is wet and getting wetter. The city council entered stage one in the fun part of its job: working out a budget. Here are the top city news stories from this past week:
The Dallas City Council received its first briefing on the 2015-2016 budget at the meeting on May 20. The budget process is a lengthy one that extends through the summer, so the numbers laid out now are tentative and are guaranteed to change. But there's currently a $25.1 million-dollar gap between what extra revenue they're getting ($34.4 million) versus what they want to spend ($59.9 million).
Certain key areas are expected to get special attention: technology, police services, code enforcement and infrastructure. The city also wants to give more money to culture, arts, recreation and education.
At the same meeting, representatives from the U.S. Postal Service addressed the council about dogs. One employee shared a tale of being bitten by a dog, spurring council members Dwaine Caraway and Rick Callahan to mull banning pit bulls. It's against the law in Texas so the point is moot, but the topic is so controversial that it set Facebook on fire for a day among protesting animal groups.
With a flash flood watch in effect from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night, Dallas officials are reviewing scenarios for the possibility that the Trinity River could actually flood. The Office of Emergency Management director Rocky Vaz says he does not anticipate an emergency, but lakes Lewisville, Lavon and Ray Roberts are a-brim, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting controlled releases to stave off disaster.
The race in Dallas City Council District 8 — i.e., Tennell Atkins' seat — ended in a runoff between Erik Wilson and Dianne Gibson. But two candidates who lost claim the election was rigged and have filed a lawsuit. Subrina Brenham and Eric Williams claim that illegal votes were counted; they want to see election records and are calling for a new election.
Toll road town halls
Mayor Mike Rawlings has scheduled a dozen town halls between May 26 and June 23 to share the Dream Team toll road proposal with the public. The meetings will include a video, and city staff will be available to gather feedback and answer questions. The full list of meetings is here.