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How Do You Mend A Broken City Budget?

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It’s time once again for the wailing and gnashing of teeth as the city council wrestles with some serious budget problems. Do they cut services to make up the $38.2 million shortfall? Raise taxes-with elections coming up this spring? Nobody wants to do that. The solution, as we see it, means taking Dallas’s proud history of public-private partnership a step further. The money is out there, gang. It’s just a matter of moving it around.



1. For the $225,000 the Dallas Cowboys are paying wide receiver Mike Sherrard to probably not play this season, the city could purchase 80,357 children’s paperback books for the Dallas Public Library.



2. The $200,000 to $300,000 the Willow Bend Hunt and Polo Club spends each year on the upkeep of its polo ponies would keep the Dallas Aquarium in the black for one year.



3. For the $28 million consumers spent last year at the Simon David gourmet food store, the approximately 1,600 families a year that get packages of food from the city’s Martin Luther King Community Center Social Services unit could be served for 14,775 years.



4. For the purchase price ($14,688,000) of the 612 pink Cadillacs Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc. awarded in 1988, the city could purchase 109 new red fire trucks.



5. For the $969,000 lawsuit settlement the city paid from its self-insurance fund to the family of the victim of a pothole accident, the city could pay for all its pothole repairs for two years.



6. For the $155 million annually that DART takes in from its 1 percent sales tax, the city could pay the annual budget of the police department ($131 million) and have enough lefi over to hire 448 new officers and send them through the academy.



7. For the $700 million in “hush ” money Ross Perot got from GM in 1986, the city could pay all its park and recreation expenses for eighteen years.

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