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Detroit Council Wants Answers On Federal Funds, EM Law

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Detroit City Council. (WWJ Photo/Florence Walton, File)

Detroit City Council. (WWJ Photo/Florence Walton, File)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit City Council members are demanding answers about some big money that could soon be lost.

Planning and Development Committee Chair Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins says the city is in jeopardy of losing more than $2 million in federal neighborhood stabilization funds, and she’s looking for an explanation from Detroit’s land bank authority.

“In a city that is as cash-strapped as the city of Detroit, and as many needs as we have in our neighborhoods, it’s unacceptable for us to continue to send millions of dollars back because we can’t seem to get our house in order,” said Jenkins.

The money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was supposed to be used to revitalize Detroit housing.

Also up for discussion at Thursday’s council meeting were subjects addressed, or not addressed, by Gov. Rick Snyder in his State of the State address.

Council members are taking issue with Snyder’s praise of Public Act 4, the state’s controversial emergency manager law.

City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said the governor “talked up” the law in Tuesday’s speech, but failed to explain how it’s made things better.

“You know, if you say it’s working then lay it out,” said Kenyatta. “Show, outside of the shrinking of the budget … it’s easy to shrink a budget, but what is the outcome of the services and the productivity of the municipalities.”

“That was not discussed. He kinda breezed right past it, and Detroit,” he said.

Jenkins said she thought it a bit hypocritical for the governor to say he didn’t want the federal government making decisions for Michigan, while supporting the EM law.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing met with the State Review Board earlier this week, working to decide whether an emergency manager should be appointed as the city battles a budget crisis.

As enacted, a controversial new state law allows the governor to take over a local government or school district by appointing an emergency manager to assume the authority and responsibility of locally elected officials. It includes the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements and even dissolve a unit of government.

- More reaction to Snyder’s State of the State

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