The city manager will hold a budget briefing for the council on Wednesday. Should be loads of fun. The best case scenario calls for a $23.8 million deficit, which includes sales tax revenue actually increasing this year.

If that’s not depressing enough, the council and staff will hold something called "Budget Brainstorming Ideas." Some of them are silly, like selling naming rights to allow private companies to use the city’s name — the Acme/City of Dallas Home Warranty Service. But some aren’t. How does eliminating monthly bulk trash pickup sound? The city is conducting a study for just that possibility, which leads me to believe that it has a real chance of happening for the 2010-11 budget year. Not that I warned anyone about this.

Also on the budget front:

• DART wants the the city to pony up cash to build the new downtown rail line near the upcoming convention center hotel. Otherwise, says DART, it won’t have any incentive to put the rail line near the hotel. This hotel thing is working out well, isn’t it?

• People have stopped donating money to the AT&T Performing Arts Center downtown. The recession, of course, is to blame — the center is $24 million, or about 7 percent, short of its fund-raising goal. More worrisome is that some $90 million in pledges have yet to be redeemed. Those of us who were here in the 1980s remember something similar happening with the Meyerson Center in the wake of the savings and loan meltdown; the city had to bail out the project.

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