The budget, the the city’s bond debt, and what to do next

Some major cyber sniping about the 10 percent of the city budget that is unaffected by the budget crisis – the debt service the city has to pay on the money we have borrowed to finance the bond projects we have voted for over the past couple of years.

Why isn’t this affected by the budget crisis? Because, as I noted in May, we have to pay the interest on the debt. No choice, unless we want to have the constables come and repossess the libraries or highways or whatever that were built with the bond money. So we can cut rec centers and libraries and even cops, but we have to pay the vig. Nothing like planning ahead, is there? Oh that’s right, I forgot — no way anyone could have forecast the recession that caused all of this.

Turns out East Dallas councilwoman Angela Hunt has a plan: She doesn’t want to spend money from the bond program that is included in next year’s budget to save on the debt service. “See, if we decide to borrow $314 million next year, then the following budget year we’re going to be up a creek without a paddle.  Our credit card payment will jump by $24 million.  TWENTY-FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.”

This does not sit well with blogger Pete Oppel, who calls Hunt’s proposal “the height of hypocrisy.” He writes that we wouldn’t have these problems if the council had done a better job of handling the sale of the bond program in question. “Here’s some advice for you, Ms. Hunt, and the rest of the City Council: Quit representing just the 43 percent of your constituents who are homeowners and start representing all of the people of your district, as you were elected to do.”

By |2009-09-10T12:01:00-05:00September 10th, 2009|City Hall, News|2 Comments

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Jeff Siegel
JEFF SIEGEL writes about neighborhood issues. He also blogs about wine. Email him at jsiegel@advocatemag.com or follow twitter.com/wine_curmudgeon.         


  1. Max Edison September 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM

    If we don’t maintain the streets and bridges, and the libraries and city hall, it will cost more in the long run when we have to rebuild or replace them. It’s like owning a house, you can pay now or you can pay more later. It is not a communist conspiracy or a scam of the elite. It is just the way it is.

  2. Rick Wamre September 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM

    I understand Pete’s point: We voted for the improvements, so why shouldn’t we have them? But Angela’s point seems to trump Pete’s: If we don’t know where the money is coming from to pay for the improvements, wouldn’t it be better to wait a year and figure that out? I especially liked her report on talking with Mayor Leppert about the issue, and his robotic bluster about the importance keeping Dallas moving ‘ the way that guy can stay “on message”, I’m starting to think he really does have a national political future.

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