Following some dramatic spreadsheet action, the City of Dallas budget for 2014-15 moved another step forward on September 3 with the approval of an amendment that scored increases for a couple of causes, including libraries and animal services.
The amendment was hammered out by Dallas City Council members Scott Griggs and Tennell Atkins and City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. Some council members, including Griggs and Philip Kingston, were not satisfied with the budget proposal presented by Gonzalez on August 12, one that came up short on funding for high-profile departments such as animal services.
Griggs created a spreadsheet showing areas where monies could be pulled, and a resolution was reached. Griggs posted a summary on his Facebook page that listed cutbacks, including a reduction of back-office staff by $500,000, as well as new allotments, including $300,000 each for the library and Dallas Animal Services, and $225,000 for "arts funding."
"It is not everything we wanted, but it has eight votes and will set us up for improvements in the budgeting process for next year," Griggs said, who posted the official letter from Gonzalez to the city council that summarized the final terms.
The money for the library would increase funding for operations, including self-service computers, scanners and copiers. All library branches would get Wi-Fi by the end of October. The money for Dallas Animal Services would fill vacant positions, including 10 animal control officers, as well as reduce the number of loose animals.
Among the trims made to find more money was the elimination of some back-office positions — eliminations that showed some pretty good salaries if you work for the City of Dallas. One such position that will not be filled was a public information coordinator to respond to open-records requests, a position that would have commanded a salary of $51,091.
The compromise received eight signatures from city council members Tennell Atkins, Scott Griggs, Sandy Greyson, Philip Kingston, Lee Kleinman, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Adam Medrano and Rick Callahan necessary to move it forward, although that did not include a signature from Gonzalez. The full budget will be voted on in the next two weeks.