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Duggan hopeful but "conservative" about Detroit's first post-bankruptcy budget

Feb 24, 2015

Credit Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan briefed the city council on the city’s first post-bankruptcy budget Tuesday.

This $1.1 billion budget is almost entirely former emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s doing, laid out in the city’s bankruptcy restructuring plan, but Duggan said he’s committed to sticking to it as closely as possible.

Duggan noted the city is actually bringing in higher revenues than that budget anticipated, but he said city officials can’t assume that trend will continue.

“So we’re going to stay conservative on our revenue estimates, and make adjustments only when we’re absolutely certain the money is there,” Duggan said.

A state-appointed financial review commission must approve Detroit’s budgets for at least the next three years. If the city is able to maintain balanced budgets, it will largely go dormant in 2018, restoring more power to the city’s elected officials.

Detroit’s property tax revenues are coming in somewhat higher than projected so far, but income taxes are slightly lower, and the city is looking to the state for help with that. “It’s very clear that we’ve got serious deficiencies in our income tax collection,” Duggan said.

Duggan told council members they do have limited powers to suggest budget amendments, but warned they shouldn’t over-do it.

“If our first action is to send them a bunch of budget changes that the financial review commission rejects as not justified, we are off to a bad start,” he said.