Detroit's New $2B Budget Could Allow City To Exit State Oversight

(WWJ) Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan laid out a $2 billion spending plan for the next budget year before city council, detailing a plan that he calls historic.

“Once we get this budget passed, we have the opportunity to get out from active state oversight,” Duggan said. “I don’t have enough good things to say about the way the administration and the council have worked together.”

Duggan said if the 2019 balanced budget is adopted and then sent and approved by the financial review commission, they could decide to end financial oversight by April and return the city to self determination. Duggan is a member of the commission, as is state Treasurer Nick Khoury, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and others appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in history in 2013, and has climbed its way back since then.

The budget includes an additional 141 full-time position in the Detroit Police Department, at a cost of $8 million, which councilwoman Janee Ayers says brings up questions like how the positions will be funded in future years and whether the jobs are additional or hires to make up for attrition.

“The one area where there is a significant increase in full-time positions we’re proposing is the Detroit Police Department,” Duggan said, adding, “The last couple of years, there was no reason to ask for more authority (to hire) because we couldn’t fill the positions we had.”

The budget also includes roughly $10 million increase in the Department of Public Works, and a $10 million increase in the health department. The health department would also add 43 new positions, including six animal control officers.

As far as city council reaction, Councilman Roy McCalister said council just received the budget, so he wants more time to look it over.

“The mayor did lay out the basics of it, but we want to get into detail,” McCalister said.

Councilwoman Mary Sheffield says she’s concerned about how much is going into the coffers of the neighborhood improvement fund, which captures income from business.






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