Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s an annual tradition that costs a lot of money — money that one Detroit official says could be better spent.
WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas reports that Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta is saying that in light of the consent agreement with the state — as a result of the city’s fiscal crisis — the fireworks should be canceled.
“Why have a fireworks to celebrate independence, when you’re dependent,” Kenyatta said. “You don’t have independence yourself. You’ve got taxation without representation in the city of Detroit.”
He says the money could be used to hire 14 police officers for an entire year.
“We got fireworks every single day,” Kenyatta said. “Let’s get some help to stop the fireworks at Miss Jones’ house and Mr. Smith’s street. When young girls are being raped in the alleys and fields where the grass is not being cut and the state is not helping you cut that grass.”
Organizers, meanwhile, say the fireworks are all set to take place on Monday, June 25th. The city reportedly spends about $700,000 a year on the festivities, much of it for police protection as thousands converge from all over the metro area for the event. Sponsors, including the major sponsor Target, pick up the rest of the cost.
Detroit is under a consent agreement with the state, which gives an outside board control of much of the city’s finances. Before the consent agreement, Detroit was on course to be more than $400 million in debt, and was reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy.
The new budget includes $250 million in cuts and calls for the elimination of more than 2,500 jobs.
On the fireworks front, Mayor Dave Bing sent a request to the Sheriffs’ Departments in neighboring Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, plus the Michigan State Police, for help with security. They reportedly agreed, which could lower Detroit’s costs.