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Thu May 31, 2012
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says new budget will "restore fiscal stability to Detroit"
It looks like Detroit’s yearly budget process will get resolved without the squabbles that have plagued it in past years.
Mayor Dave Bing said Thursday he’ll sign the budget the Detroit City Council approved last week.
The Council made few changes to the budget plan Bing proposed back in April. It slashes nearly $250 million from the city’s now roughly $1.1 billion budget.
2600 city jobs will be cut. Some city departments , like Detroit's health department, will virtually disappear, while others, like transportation and public lighting, will be privatized.
The city's police and fire departments are also hit heavily. They're supposed to take 10% pay cuts, something that the department's unions haven't yet agreed to. In fact, most city unions' contracts expire June 1--despite working out tentative agreements that state, and now city, leaders rejected as too generous given the depth of Detroit's financial woes.
Speaking from the Mackinac Island Public Policy conference, Bing said the budget will restore fiscal stability to the city, and pave the way for much-needed restructuring.
“I don’t think we can wait. We have to move our plan as rapidly as we possibly can," Bing said.
But there’s another body that still needs to sign off on the budget—a nine-member financial advisory board that’s part of Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.
That board isn’t filled yet. The Detroit City Council has put off approve their three picks, as city lawyers consider challenging the deal’s validity in court.
The law department can act independently of other city officials. Some City Council members support the move. Bing has made conflicting statements in the past, but now says such litigation will “sidetrack us from moving our plan forward.”
City lawyers and Council are still staying mum about when and whether that legal challenge will happen. But state leaders have said the board will start meeting soon, regardless.