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Detroit Council Ponders Budget Deal Draft

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Detroit City Council in session (WWJ Photo/Marie Osborne, File)

Detroit City Council in session (WWJ Photo/Marie Osborne, File)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Mayor Dave Bing’s office has given the City Council a draft of a financial agreement being negotiated between Detroit and Governor Rick Snyder’s office.

Once the council’s comments are incorporated into the document it will be reviewed by the state and then returned to the council for approval.

Prior to a special session on Thursday, Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to council members.

“In appreciation of this challenge of urban America being on trial, I think that Detroit is the ground zero of urban challenge,” said Jackson. “I’ve seen cities become hollow because of industrial collapse, leaving the city in the hole of the donut.”

Jackson said that those outside of the city should be concerned about what happens to Detroit.

“Detroit is Michigan’s main artery … of transportation, of industrial development … a brand name, it’s its international connection to Canada, it is its waterway,” Jackson said. “If its artery is in trouble, the whole state’s gonna have a stroke.”

Mayor Bing said Thursday’s council session “represents a significant milestone in addressing the City’s financial crisis.” Bing said while the problem won’t get fixed overnight, the city’s partnership with the state is a step in the right direction.

Among other things, the agreement creates a state-appointed financial advisory board and requires the city to adopt three-year budget.

Although the deal is no longer being called a “consent agreement,” Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said it amounts to the same thing.

“I don’t support Public Act 4 (the state’s emergency manager law) through the front door or the back door,” said Kenyatta. “This is a back door attempt to subvert the right of the people, not just in here in the city of Detroit but in the state of Michigan.”

Under Public Act 4, which is being challenged in the courts, Gov. Snyder has until April 4 the make a decision on the future leadership of the city.

Council members were not expected to vote on the document yet Thursday. If a deal is reached, Detroit would avoid the appointment of an emergency manager.

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