Detroit City Council rejects call for 30 percent cut to its budget

Dec 13, 2011

Detroit leaders are working to come up with cuts that will put the city on a stable financial path, but they don't think a 30 percent cut to their own budget is the right way to go.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported on Gary Brown's austerity proposal last week. From Hulett's report:

The Detroit City Council’s budget is more than $13 million, and includes perks like city-issued cars and cell phones for council members.

Gary Brown is the Council President Pro Tem. He says like other city employees, he only pays ten percent of his health care costs. Brown’s proposal calls for upping that employee contribution to 30 percent. He says that’s a change the entire city workforce needs to accept.

"And the message, if we don’t show leadership on this issue, is that we’re asking our employees to do something we’re not willing to do," Brown said.

Brown made a similar proposal last month that went nowhere. This time he’s introduced a resolution that will get an up-or-down vote next week.

The Detroit News reports Brown's proposal has been rejected:

The City Council decided to reject a proposal to cut its budget by 30 percent in a move that sought to show leadership amid a fiscal crisis.

Members decided by a 6-2 vote to reject the resolution introduced by Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown last week. His proposal would have also eliminated city-owned cars and cell phones, and instituted a 70-30 split on health insurance.

Dissenting council members said their budget has been cut in past budget cycles.

Council President Charles Pugh said they're working on a plan to cut council's budget by 17 percent:

"The number 30 is excessive, but we can find more than 15 percent, perhaps 20 percent," said Pugh, who added he cut his staff by 25 percent.

The city of Detroit is facing a possible takeover by a state-appointed emergency manager. The state is in the middle of reviewing the city's finances to determine whether an EM will be appointed.