Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has proposed cutting dollars for police, fire protection and courts as a way to make substantive progress in getting a better handle on the city’s budget, reports the Dallas Morning News. The mayor — acknowledging that he was stepping into a “minefield” — made sure to say that the city has done a “hell of a job” in bringing down crime. He didn't detail specific cuts, saying that officials should start by looking for inefficiencies.
Rawlings pointed out that public safety is projected to take up 60 percent of next year's proposed $1.2 billion operating budget, and that it's been at that level for years. With limited budget options, he said, the public safety figure “should not be a sacrosanct percentage.” “I'm probably touching the third rail, but I don't care,” Rawlings said. There are not many places to trim fat, he said, and “that's the only place you are really going to find it.” The mayor outlined the possible cut at the council's budget workshop. The session allowed Rawlings and the council to take an early stab at prioritizing next year's budget in light of early projections of a $30 million shortfall.