Dallas Council Debates Public Improvements, Alley Repair

2012 public improvement bond referendum would cover $450 million

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012  |  Updated 7:24 PM CDT
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A city council committee will decide how to solve the debate between trash collection in alleys and curbside.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5

A city council committee will decide how to solve the debate between trash collection in alleys and curbside.

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Members of the Dallas Cit y Council spoke loudly Wednesday against suggestions that more trash collection be moved out of alleys to avoid alley repair.

It was one suggestion in a briefing on alley maintenance issues.

"I'm absolutely opposed to that," said Councilman Dwaine Caraway. "As long as folks have an alley and trucks can go and they've designed their homes to have an alley pickup, then we need to continue that process, and I'm one that will fight this to the end to make sure that we don't try to do an all trash pickup in the front."

Councilman Sheffie Kadane said he wants neighborhoods already shifted from alley to street pick up to be shifted back to alleys.

"We need to do something with our alleys," he said. "That's what they were built for, that's what they're there for and I, for one think, we need to fix them."

Alley improvement will compete for a share of a proposed November 2012 public improvement bond referendum.

'It's not just about do we want to fix the alleys, it's do we want to fix the alleys and not build the libraries?" Councilwoman Ann Margolin said.

To avoid raising taxes to pay for it, City Manager Mary Suhm said the referendum may include only $450 million worth of projects.

The city's needs list is $10 billion.

Suhm recommends almost half the bond issue be devoted to a flood control project to help relieve chronic East Dallas problems that she blames for three floods in the past 20 years.

"It's one of the things that keeps me awake at night when it starts raining," she said.

But some council members said they worry their neighborhood problems would be overlooked.

"We just to make sure that all neighborhoods are touched somehow," Carraway said.

Debate will continue on the bond issue through the spring.

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