Just moments ago, we posted a commentary from KERA commentator Lee Cullum, in which she worries aloud about potential cuts to arts and culture programs from the City of Dallas. KERA’s BJ Austin is also on the story; she filed this report this morning:
July is a vacation month for Dallas city council members, but in the City Manager’s office, it’s all hands on deck. They’re crafting a final “balanced” budget that will require deep cuts.
Employees in the Cultural Affairs department are waiting for the axe to fall – again. A 45 percent overall cut is anticipated. Grants for arts programs, as well as money for utilities at the new venues in the AT&T Performing Arts Center, are on the cut-list.
Christopher Head has worked in Cultural Affairs for 12 years.
Head: “We were 14 staff members. Now we’re down to eight. We hardly have any of the strength that we used to have. One of the things that’s been saving us has been retention. Unfortunately, that’s starting to fragment as well because basically everybody’s seen the writing on the wall and they’re all trying to leave the ship as it sinks.”
Before the council break, the City Manager had the budget deficit whittled down to $35 million. The final budget proposal will be presented to the City Council August 9.