flint budget

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint city council members and residents are expressing frustration with the way the city’s emergency manager is handling the creation of next year’s budget.

“We deserve better,” said one of the dozens of Flint residents who turned out for a public hearing on the proposed two-year city budget Monday night. 

The plan includes eliminating 36 police positions and 19 firefighter jobs. The budget also calls for raising Flint’s already high water and sewer rates by 6% a year for each of the next two years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“Insanity” – that’s how one Flint City Council member described plans to slash staffing in the city’s police and fire departments.

Flint’s emergency manager has proposed a budget that would cut 36 police and 19 fire department positions. The firefighter jobs are currently funded by a federal grant that expires next month, and the city doesn't have the money to keep them.      

The city is also dealing with rising retiree health insurance costs.

Flint’s police and fire chiefs are working on plans to reorganize their departments to absorb the cuts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint police officers are getting out from behind a desk today and getting back on the street. 

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert calls it ”inside-out" – taking police officers who usually spend their day doing administrative work and putting them into a patrol car.

He says that adds nine to 18 more patrol cars on Flint streets at a time.

“I know we’ve made multiple arrests today,” Tolbert said on Friday. “We’re getting people with warrants off the street … you’re serving multiple purposes all at the same time.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water customers may need to prepare to pay more for their tap water.

A consultant is recommending the city plan on annual rate hikes for the foreseeable future.

Flint’s aging water system has endured more than a hundred water main breaks since New Year’s Day. The city is also planning on replacing water service from Detroit by tapping into the Flint River and eventually a new pipeline that would reach Lake Huron.