In this roundup of Dallas city news, it's budget time, with town halls you can attend. An environmental group combed through the budget and found things it did not like. DISD is giving vaccine bonuses. And someone in the city's IT department made a big boo-boo.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Don't hit delete
A big chunk of data was accidentally deleted from the Dallas Police Department's network.
According to the DPD, a single IT employee, not identified, was performing a migration but did not follow proper procedures and uh-oh deleted 22 terabytes of data.
Of that, 14 were recovered but the other eight are gone for good. (One terabyte holds 250,000 photos and 6 million documents.)
According to the District Attorney's office, prosecutions could be affected. The city became aware of the issue on April 5, but it's just coming to light now.
On August 8, the Dallas City Manager released a draft of the annual budget to the public. It's posted online for your reading pleasure.
Budget town halls, held in each District, began on August 12 and continue until August 26. They have the schedule also posted online. You still have 30 opportunities to attend one and hear budget discussions and questions.
City budget through an enviro-filter
The Texas Campaign for the Environment sifted through the newly released city budget and found some items of concern:
- Slashing the Environmental Budget: A proposed $400,000 has been cut from the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability (OEQS), which is tasked with implementing the city's environmental and climate initiatives. This cut represents 10 percent of the environmental department's overall budget. "We think the city should be expanding environmental programs like investing significantly more in clean energy and helping provide low or no-cost home improvements like weatherization that reduce energy consumption and demand on the Texas power grid ... which can help avoid blackouts during the winter and summer," the campaign notes.
- Short-Changing Residents and Sanitation Workers: The budget increases household sanitation fees by $3.78 per month. The reasoning: service delay concerns, IE late trash and recycling pickups. The campaign notes that the city still plans to rely on contract labor which doesn't guarantee workers basic benefits like decent healthcare or lunch breaks. They also note that the city doesn't appear to increase the price on commercial customers to dump trash at the McCommas Bluff Landfill, among the cheapest landfills in the country.
- Risking Public and Police Safety: The budget nearly doubles Dallas Police Department's current $17.3 million overtime budget. "There's a lot of debate on how to best manage and budget the city's policing resources, but we do know this for certain: studies suggest that longer shifts harm officers' health and make them more prone to deadly mistakes," the Campaign says. "The Texas Legislature passed a law that prevents cities from decreasing police budgets, so once the city raises the police budget (the proposed draft raises the DPD budget by about $60 million), it cannot be easily decreased in the future. We think the city needs to be much wiser about making budget decisions about the police, especially when they are shown to increase risk for the public and uniformed officers."
They recommend you contact your city council member, which you can locate on this handy online map.
The Dallas Independent School District is going to pay teachers and staff members an extra $500 if they get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"With the safety and well-being of staff and students in mind, Dallas ISD is offering a one-time incentive of $500 to district employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19," says a statement from the district.
The bonus is available to any employee who fills out an online form and submits proof of vaccination by November 15.
Back to school photo op
The Shops at Park Lane, at Park Lane and US-75, has installed school-themed pop-ups for back-to-school selfies.
They include an oversized notebook, 5-and-a-half feet tall, plus a row of pencils and oversized crayons that are four feet tall. The notebook is interactive, with movable pages. There are also oversized sunglasses.
The installation will be at the shopping center through the end of September and is located in the lawn area between Starbucks and Chipotle.
The giant sunglasses will be onsite until the end of August and are positioned near the Whole Foods parking garage, across from Bowl and Barrel.