DETROIT (WWJ) – Mayor Dave Bing says Detroit faces a state takeover if it is unable to balance its budget and get its finances in order. Bing delivered his $3.1 billion budget proposal to City Council on Tuesday.
Bing says the city needs to find $200 million savings to present a balanced budget for the new fiscal year that starts July first.
Bing’s proposal also includes plans to aggressively pursue people who owe the City money, and seek help from Lansing in getting an increase, for one year, in the taxes paid to the City from casinos.
Bing said he’s fully aware that state revenue sharing is now, in part, tied to trimming his budget fat.
“We project revenue for this fiscal year to decrease, potentially, $85 million. I’ve made my position on this clear to Governor Snyder. I think it’s too deep of a cut — but we are kidding ourselves if we think that the State is in a position to solve our issues,” Bing said.
Bing said if the City does nothing, Detroit’s deficit, now at about $150 million, will grow to about $1.2 billion dollars by fiscal year 2015.
Bing also said the recent census figures are presenting a problem for the city.
“The loss of population brought a corresponding loss in revenue and housing values. It contributed to the thousands of abandoned homes that we now must pay to either demolish or rehab. It will be a never-ending cycle if we continue down the same road,” Bing said.
Although Bing’s $3 billion spending plan includes $200 million in cuts, he will also be asking unions for more concessions from the city’s 48 collective bargaining units.
City leaders say that without union concessions, an emergency financial manager could come in and dissolve union contracts all together.
Catherine Phillips with Michigan AFSCME Council 25 thinks the Mayor is just picking on the “little people.”
“The Mayor is trying to do away with our contract as well. That doesn’t’t really strike me too much because I believe, and this my personal belief, that Mr. Bing will probably end up being the emergency financial manager,” Phillips said.
”He’s going to cut whether he’s mayor or whether he’s emergency financial manager. Knowing him, he’s coming after the little people again.”
Phillips said after agreeing to a three-year, 10 percent pay cut, the union is not willing to open up for more concessions.
Ed McNeil with Michigan AFSCME Council 25 thinks the city is asking for sacrifice from the wrong group of people.
“For anyone to sit here and say that it needs to be taken off the backs of employees, again, and again, and again… You have workers, right now, that are in foreclosure,” McNeil said.
“It’s not the employee’s who are screwing up the money. It’s the administration whose screwing up the money and going back to the employees to clean up the mess by them giving more and giving more,” McNeil said.
”So, people need to know the real story about whats happening with their tax dollars and that’s vendor contracts. That’s where the taxpayers need to understand where there’s mismanagement, and where overall expenditures are happening,” he said.
Bing said he wants to suspend, for one year, payments to the city’s employee pension fund.