It’s official — we’re now in a free-fall budget crisis. The city manager said yesterday that most city departments would have to cut their budgets 30 percent, and that police, fire and code compliance — normally beyond budget cuts — would have to trim theirs by 5 percent.

I take no great pleasure in saying I told you so. Or in noting that I have been warning about this for two years and predicted just this in our February East Dallas magazine. (See handy clip and save sales tax chart.) I’d much rather not have this happen, and I’d much rather that someone on the city council or at City Hall had acted responsibly in the spring of 2008 and prepared us for this. Instead, and this is the part that drives me crazy, most of them offered the Alfred E. Neuman response — "What, me worry?" As recently as January, Mayor Park Cities said: "This is very early in the process. It is, in numbers at least, a better situation than we were in last year, but it still means we’ve got challenges."

No, Mr. Mayor. It’s worse. It’s much worse. Isn’t it time you realized that?