Dallas City Council discuss budget issues

Diane Xavier | 9/2/2013, 12:29 p.m.
Budget issues for the city of Dallas, the Trinity River Corridor Project, plastic bag litter in the area, and financing ...
Col. Charles H. Klinge, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Fort Worth District, briefs Dallas City Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, District 33, on the benefits that the new Pavaho Pump Station delivers to reduce flood risk to this West Dallas neighborhood. USACOE

The Dallas Examiner

Budget issues for the city of Dallas, the Trinity River Corridor Project, plastic bag litter in the area, and financing janitorial services and event set-up services were the topics discussed at the Dallas City Council briefing meeting held Aug. 21 at Dallas City Hall.

Up first, the Council rejected the motion to authorize the current bid by Andrew Building Services for a five-year service contract for janitorial and event set-up services at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Andrews, the current provider and the lowest bidder of five bidders, proposed a bid not to exceed $18,187,934.

Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins of District 8 believed it was appropriate to reject the current bid and start over.

“I spoke to the city staff and there were a whole lot of unanswered answers that we couldn’t get and we feel like it is best for the convention center to rebid this,” Atkins said.

Interim City Manager A.C. Gonzales expanded on the problems with the current contractor.

“We had issues that came up such as the performance of bonds during the time the contractor was still with us,” Gonzales said. “There were other issues of insurance that was raised along with payments of overtime during the time of the contract. These were all issues that were resolvable or were resolved but these cast some light on whether they were the most responsible bidder at this time. We are still going to move forward with the request of the Council to see about extending the current contractor for another six months while we got through the process and address remaining issues and give an opportunity for others to bid and see who the lowest bidder is.”

Gonzales said the extension of the current contract would be discussed again on Wednesday to make sure there is no disruption in services for six months and in the meantime, rebid.

Next, the Council received an update and an overview of the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Life safety was the main concern with this venture. The project was designed to address regional concerns. With flood risk as the cornerstone, it composes four main interrelated components that include flood regulation, ecosystem restoration, transportation and recreation.

Councilmember Vonciel Jones Hill, District 3, was in favor of the development.

“This project will enhance Dallas as an international city,” she said.

Mayor Mike Rawlings hopes the plan will get people from all parts of Dallas involved.

“The citizens of Dallas are excited about the Trinity River and they want to get it going,” he said. “That’s what I hear all the time. We have done so many things south of the city, so many trails have been done and I don’t want people from North Dallas to go down there and not see the amount of progress we made. This move to connect Katy Trail and the Trinity Railway Trail is a major strategic initiative for us.”

The Council then addressed the authorization to hold public hearings on Wednesday and Sept. 11 in order to receive comments on a proposed tax rate and also a proposal to consider adoption of a $0.797/$100 valuation tax rate or a lower rate that may be considered at the Sept. 18 Dallas City Council meeting.