Detroit Council Cancels Break Amid Financial Crisis
DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit City Council has cancelled its holiday recess amid reports that, without drastic cuts, the city will run out of cash in April.
Mayor Dave Bing will outline the city of Detroit’s financial troubles on Wednesday — that announcement coming as a surprise to council members.
Councilmen Ken Cockrel said he’s been meeting with the mayor’s staff in an effort to tackle the financial problems and said the mayor should have warned council the speech was coming.
“Felt a little blindsided by hearing about a speech that’s gonna be made tomorrow. We’ve been discussing this issue and trying to work towards devising a joint plan for the past three weeks,” said Cockrel.
“This is the second time in as many weeks that we’ve been hearing something in the media as opposed to getting it directly from the horse’s mouth,” he said.
At any rate, with that announcement coming, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said this is no time to take time off.
“I’m not sure what he’s gonna say [Wednesday] and he may not say everything. But, at the same time, for this body to be out perceived on vacation or wherever we are while this city is sinking into the Detroit River, is a real consideration for me,” he said, and other council members agreed.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he think’s Detroit’s coffers could run dry as early as February.
“We’ve studied the numbers. I have no reason to challenge Ernst & Young, I mean that’s what they do for a living, but we’re all in the same boat,” said Patterson. “We say February, they say April, so whatever it is it’s right around the corner and it could be horrendous for the city and the region.”
Patterson said Detroit’s financial woes affect his ability to bring business to Oakland County and could affect his county’s credit rating as well. He said he thinks Mayor Bing is doing an incredible job, but he’d like to see an Emergency Financial Manager appointed for Detroit who could void city employee contracts.
Bing told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas recently that tough decisions have to be made, including layoffs.
The mayor will deliver his address starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for complete coverage.