Detroit City Council

Politics & Government
10:51 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Bing says Council actions force cash crisis; Council disagrees

Detroit mayor Dave Bing says the Detroit City Council has pushed the city to the brink of another cash crisis.

The Council voted Tuesday to reject a contract with the law firm Miller-Canfield.

Bing maintains that approving that contract was part of a so-called “milestone agreement” with the state, which is holding $30 million Detroit bond money in escrow.

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Politics & Government
10:10 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Detroit Council postpones vote on "world's largest urban farm"

Credit Hantz Farms

The Detroit City Council delayed a vote on a controversial urban farm proposal Tuesday.

Hantz Farms had proposed buying more than 140 acres in vacant land on Detroit's east side for a tree farm. It could expand to include other forms of agriculture in the future.

Some Council members were receptive to the idea, but worried about some details. There was concern about approving the plan without a public hearing, and before the city has an urban agriculture ordinance in place.

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Politics & Government
9:59 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects contract to overhaul water system

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

The Detroit City Council has unanimously rejected a controversial contract to overhaul the city’s water department.

Department officials wanted to award a $48 million contract to Minneapolis-based EMA Consultants.

The company proposed to lay off about 80% of the department’s workforce, in what officials called a necessary move to halt future rate increases.

But critics said the plan would do little more than gut and privatize the water system.

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Politics & Government
10:49 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Detroit Council postpones vote on water overhaul

Photo courtesy of Birminghan Public Schools

The Detroit City Council has delayed voting on a contract to restructure the city’s water department.

Detroit’s board of water commissioners and Mayor Dave Bing have already approved a plan to contract Minneapolis-based EMA Consulting.

That firm plans to cut up to 80% of the water department’s workforce, and create “efficiencies” by privatizing many so-called “non-core” functions.

But after hearing public concern and anger about the plan, the Council decided to postpone a vote on the $48 million EMA contract.

In part, that’s because the Environmental Protection Agency asked the city not to take action before it can review the plan.

Councilman Ken Cockrel Junior says he want to hear from the EPA before moving ahead.

“The EPA has said they want 45 days to review that contract, and make sure there are no negative impacts,” Cockrel said. “I think when you have a federal agency that is charged with monitoring environmental quality for our country, and they say they need to look at this…I think we need to give them the time to do it.”

Detroit’s water department has been under a federal judge’s oversight since 1977, for periodic failures to comply with the Clean Water Act.

Detroit
1:15 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Belle Isle plan blocked by Detroit City Council

Some Detroiters have expressed their displeasure with the Belle Isle plan.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reports the Detroit City Council has dug their heels in on a plan for Belle Isle. The plan calls for the state to lease the park from the city and run it as a state park.

The Council has "indefinitely postponed" plans for a public hearing on the plan.

From the Freep:

The council's decision means the proposal can't go forward until council members get what they want: more funding guarantees from the state as well as a fuller hearing on alternative proposals for the island park.

Council members said the state had yet to respond to its request that guarantees of millions of dollars in upgrades to the island be put in writing, information that was not specifically spelled out in the state’s proposed 30-year lease. The lease would be for 30 years with two optional 30-year renewals.

Politics & Government
12:18 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Detroit group offers alternative to controversial Belle Isle plan

A Detroit-based group says it has developed a model to refurbish Detroit’s Belle Isle without turning it into a state park.

The group says a Belle Isle Park Authority could both run the island, and provide a mechanism for making needed investments.

Tom Barrow, a former Detroit mayoral candidate and a spokesman, said the plan includes a governing structure, entry fees, and other revenue sources.  

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Politics & Government
10:20 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Commentary: Acid test for Detroit

Does Detroit have any chance of avoiding bankruptcy and a state takeover of some kind? Frankly, I don’t know. The odds right now look bad for the city being able to continue governing itself.

But miracles and surprises happen. And right now, something is going on which should be a pretty clear test of whether those running the Michigan’s largest city can avoid disaster.

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Politics & Government
7:45 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Detroit Council seeks restraining order against Bing

For the second time in as many weeks, the Detroit City Council is taking legal action to force the hand of Mayor Dave Bing.

During a Tuesday meeting, the Council voted to seek a temporary restraining order to stop proposed changes in the city’s health department.

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Politics & Government
6:51 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Council warns Bing: Belle Isle plan dead without major changes

A sign on Belle Isle.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Without major changes, it looks like the proposal to turn Detroit’s Belle Isle into a state park doesn’t have a shot with the Detroit City Council.

City Council members blasted the proposal at a meeting Tuesday, calling it, among other things, “ridiculous” and “terrible.”

Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Snyder outlined the plan last week. It calls for the city to lease Belle Isle to the state for 30 years. In return, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would maintain the island. The state would also make some as-yet-unspecified major upgrades.

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Politics & Government
7:17 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Looking for information, Detroit Council subpoenas Mayor Bing

The Detroit City Council wants information from Mayor Dave Bing, and they say issuing a subpoena is the only way to get it.

The Council voted Wednesday to issue the subpoena.

Council member Saunteel Jenkin said it came to this because Bing has ignored repeated requests for documents.

“And this isn’t just [a case of] we asked last week, and we didn’t get it this week,” Jenkins said.

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Politics & Government
10:31 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Commentary: Ballot madness in Detroit

If you live in Detroit, I want to wish you good luck trying to wrestle with your election ballot this November.

The rest of us Michigan voters are going to be asked to decide six complex statewide ballot proposals, which is far too many. But Detroiters are going to face a total of ten proposals.

That would be ridiculous, even if this were an enlightened state like Oregon, where everyone is mailed a ballot so they have time to study the races and issues before casting an informed vote.

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Politics & Government
7:59 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Detroit Council ignores Snyder, approves proposed charter amendments for the ballot

Despite opposition from Governor Snyder, the Detroit City Council voted to put four proposed charter amendments on the November ballot.

Detroit and Lansing went through a long, contentious process before the two sides reached a consent agreement to keep the city from going broke.

But that agreement has faced resistance from some Council members.

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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects public safety millage proposal

The Detroit City Council has rejected an effort to put a public safety millage on the November ballot.

The Detroit Police Department pushed hard for the five-year millage. It would have raised $56 million over five years to put 500 more “boots on the ground,” in Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee’s words.

But the Council rejected the effort by a 7-2 vote.

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Politics & Government
1:21 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects proposed union contract terms, 5-4

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council Facebook

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to impose new contract terms on most city employees.

Mayor Dave Bing asked for the changes, which include a 10-percent pay cut and major work rule changes.

City officials say Detroit’s consent agreement with the state allows them to impose the terms even without the council's approval.

Politics & Government
11:39 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Detroit financial board OKs plan for union cuts

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing Facebook.com

A board created to help Detroit Mayor Dave Bing repair the city's broken finances has approved his plan to make more than $100 million in cuts to the unionized workforce.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the financial advisory board took its first major steps toward restructuring the city's finances yesterday. The plan calls for putting in place savings that include a 10 percent wage cut and significant changes to health care and work rules.

Most are similar to tentative agreements reached earlier this year with unions.

The City Council is expected to consider the plan next week, but the financial board can implement the actions without council's approval.

The nine-member board was formed under a consent agreement between the city and state.

Politics & Government
7:15 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Bing decries Council "sideshow," says he 'll no longer deal with city lawyers

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing went to the Detroit City Council Friday to formally tell them he wants to get rid of the city’s top lawyer.

Instead, he walked out of an abruptly-recessed meeting he later called a “sideshow.”

Bing has been at odds with Detroit’s corporation counsel, Krystal Crittendon, for weeks now.

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Politics
10:28 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Detroit officials count city money in the face of consent agreement legal challenge

Detroit City Council chamber
City of Detroit Facebook page

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council are sitting down this morning to discuss keeping the city afloat financially.

Bing and Detroit’s Chief Financial Officer have warned the city might run out of money by the end of this week.

When Detroit signed a consent agreement with the state more than two months ago, it was supposed to keep the city out of just this position.

But the city’s top lawyer, Krystal Crittendon, is challenging the deal’s validity in court.

She has support from several City Council members—and at one point, got encouragement from Bing.

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Politics
7:22 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Bing: Detroit will go broke within a week if city lawyer doesn't back off lawsuit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at a recent Detroit groundbreaking.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and his Chief Financial Officer, Jack Martin, warn the city could go broke as soon as next week.

That’s because Detroit’s top lawyer, Kyrstal Crittendon, filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the city’s consent agreement with the state.

Crittendon argues the agreement is “void and unenforceable” because the state owes the city money—and it’s illegal to enter into a contract with a debtor.

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Commentary
10:19 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Commentary: Detroit’s Self-inflicted Agony

Two months ago, Detroit City Council agreed, at the last possible moment, to enter into a consent agreement with the state.

The city was fast running out of cash, and was facing a situation where the governor would virtually have been forced to appoint an emergency manager to run the city.

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Politics
8:20 pm
Sun June 3, 2012

City of Detroit lawyer challenges consent agreement; state vows to "move forward"

Detroit’s top lawyer is going to court to challenge the city’s consent agreement with the state. But she doesn’t have the full support of Mayor Dave Bing, or some Detroit City Council members.

Corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon wrote a letter to state officials weeks ago.

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