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Council Is Seeking Opinions On Levies

DALLAS - The Dallas City Council is inviting the public to have its say June 2 about two proposed city tax measures that could be on the Nov. 4 ballot.

DALLAS - The Dallas City Council is inviting the public to have its say June 2 about two proposed city tax measures that could be on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The city is making plans to ask voters for a $2.85 million tax levy to build a new senior center, and a $6.9 million levy to purchase fire department equipment and build a training facility.

This is the first time the fire levy amounts have been made public following research and committee workshops over the past month.

The estimated tax levy amount for the senior center has also increased this month because grants previously thought available to build the center were discovered to be restricted to use by seniors over 65, according to Jerry Wyatt, city manager. Without the grants, the proposed senior and community center could be used by younger residents, if voters approve a bond that funds the entire project.

The fire department's proposed bond includes two new medic units, $445,000; the training site development with donated land, $3.4 million; and a new station, $3.2 million.

The senior center bond would pay for an 8,500-square-foot center on Levens Street at the old pool site. The center includes a multipurpose room, stage, craft rooms, and an outdoor patio area.

But before the city puts either measure on the ballot, councilors said they want to hear from residents. The hearings begin at 7:30 p.m. June 2. The regular Dallas City Council meeting will follow the hearings.

During the public comment portion of the city council meeting on Monday, Glenn Scatterday, a senior from Dallas, had his say a month early: "If you find yourself slipping deeper into a hole, the first thing you do is quit digging," Scatterday said.

He listed the economic woes impacting most U.S. citizens - higher prices for fuel and food, reduced home sales, bankruptcies and related reductions in jobs. He said that the senior center was "a nice thought," but unnecessary, and that if the fire department bond fails, "we'll still have the finest department in the state."

"Go slow on the spending. Please don't ask the taxpayers to encumber themselves with these bond issues," Scatterday said.

Those who want to comment on the city's proposed 2008-09 budget in general can speak at the budget committee meeting and hearing set for 8:30 p.m. May 19. In addition to the June 2 public hearings on the bond measures, the city council's formal hearing on its budget is the same night.

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