DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit leaders are out to get what the city is owed — unveiling a plan to collect on debts by both businesses and citizens alike.
Mayor Dave Bing has announced 10 new initiatives designed to save or bring in about $50 million to the city.
As he spoke about the plan to reporters Wednesday, the mayor was asked how this latest effort might impact the eventual appointment of an emergency manager for Detroit.
“We don’t have the authority to bring somebody in or keep somebody out — that’s Lansing’s responsibility,” said Bing. “By focusing on what we do for improvements on a daily basis I think they’ll understand: I doubt if anybody else can come in here and do a better job than we.”
Bing said the city will go after those delinquent in billing for fire inspections and other services, retroactive to 2009.
Detroit’s Chief Financial Officers Jack Martin said $1 million has been collected so far; another $1.5 million is expected to be collected by the end of the fiscal year.
An expanded group of solid waste customers is also being targeted. “Our focus in terms of delinquent solid waste collections presently are on large landlords and non-profit organizations. We will have focus in the coming months on individual property owners who don’t pay their solid waste fees,” Martin said.
Those who fail to pay will face legal action.
Also outlining the city’s plan for increasing its bottom line, Detroit Treasurer Cheryl Johnson explained, for example, how revenues will be enhanced through income tax collection.
Johnson said her department has been concentrating on collections from by business and individual non-filers. “We’re cross-referencing the city’s data from that we have received from the IRS and some from the state,” she said, adding that, so far, they’ve collected about $600 from non-filers.
Johnson said there’s now also a stronger focus on data integrity and improved data processing.
City leaders say they expect to collect around $13 million from income tax collections and improvements to tax processing systems. Meanwhile, beginning in mid-January, 2013, a 30-day tax amnesty program will allow those delinquent on their city taxes to pay up without penalty.
Detroit has been experiencing a fiscal meltdown for years. An estimate in August projected a cash deficit of $62 million for the city by June 30, 2013. But an October estimate placed the projected deficit at $84 million, while November’s had it at $122 million.