450 City of Dallas workers get layoff notices

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on August 6, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 7 at 9:22 AM

DALLAS - Hours before City Manager Mary Suhm confirmed details of her proposed $2.74-billion dollar budget, dozens of city workers began to receive official layoff notices.

"For me personally, it hurts," Chris Head, a city employee, told News 8. "It's going to hurt my family," he continued. "We're in a terrible state of trying to figure out how we're going to make ends meet."

After 13 years as an electronic technician at the Meyerson Symphony Center, the city laid him off; one of three in his department; one of 450 citywide.

Suhm said she's even cutting seven positions on her own staff.

The Parks Department takes the single biggest hit potentially losing 240 jobs.

That means maintenance and lawn mowing won't happen as often and recreation centers will have reduced hours.

Every Dallas resident will get dinged on their water bill which is going up on average $1.57 more a month.

Suhm also proposes only opening the upper floors, three through eight, of the main downtown library on Thursday through Sunday.

The first and second floors along with the neighborhood branches would keep their regular hours.

Like many cities, Dallas faces a budget shortfall - $130-million gap - because of declining sales and property taxes.

"I can't see why we can't come together as a city and be able to pay a little more taxes to be able to save these jobs and save these services," Head said.

Councilman Tennell Atkins wants the same thing.

"Well, I don't know. I think we should do a moderate tax increase. Could be 2%. 3%," he told News 8.

Head hopes Atkins finds support to succeed in raising taxes in this sour economy to save jobs and city services.

Suhm refuses to place the burden on taxpayers.

City council votes on the budget September 23rd.

Each councilperson is having a series of town hall meetings to discuss it before then.

Email: jwhitely@wfaa.com

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