Neighbors who attended a town hall meeting Tuesday to tell District 1 City Council member Delia Jasso how they think the city should deal with its budget crisis overwhelmingly were concerned with parks, recreation centers and libraries. But Jasso told them she thinks City Council will abandon plans to cut hours at rec centers and libraries. She said she has "no idea" how the city would readjust the budget to cover those services, but that "we’re looking at" restorning library and recreation center hours.
Outcry from Oak Cliff neighbors over cuts to libraries and recreation centers has been loud and consistent. "It’s not that these are just important, or that they’re nice to have," said Western Heights resident Deborah Carpenter. "It’s that the people of Oak Cliff think these things are absolutely crucial." Carpenter even suggested that Dallas residents would accept a tax increase to keep them fully funded. Neighbors say they’re worried that if hours and staffing is cut at libraries and recreation centers, children growing up without those amenities could become criminals later in life. Or that without public pools, children won’t learn to swim.
More after the jump.
Neighbors at the forum also told Jasso their troubles with code enforcement and crime. Three things the city is sure to fully fund are police, fire and code enforcement. Some neighbors suggested that code enforcement doesn’t do a very good job and shouldn’t get funding over amenities such as parks. "You can drive through my nieghborhood right now and see all kinds of code violations that haven’t been ticketed," one neighbor said.
Jasso urged neighbors to call 311 and 911 without hesitation. "If you don’t call 311 to report a code violation, it doesn’t exist. If you don’t call 911 to report a crime, it doesn’t exist," she said.
City Council is expected to vote on the proposed budget Sept. 23. The next town hall meeting, with District 3 City Council member Dave Neumann, is 7 p.m. Thursday at the Park in the Woods Recreation Center.