Detroit Mayor Duggan Presents $2.4 Billion Budget to City Council

Mayor Mike Duggan presented his proposed $2.4 billion budget to the City Council on Monday, which he said shows Detroit’s revenue is on par with levels before the coronavirus pandemic began.

Duggan said the budget would be Detroit’s eighth consecutive balanced budget after emerging from bankruptcy in 2014.

The overall proposed budget includes the city’s general fund budget of $1.2 billion and other funds for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It must be approved by city council and would be $115 million higher than its overall 2021-22 budget.

It includes a $67 million increase in city services to restore the budget after cost cuts made due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of that amount, $26.5 million will go towards restoring support for the Detroit Department of Transportation and the People Mover elevated rail system. Another $29 million would restore funding to police and fire stations. Duggan’s office says $16 million would be budgeted for pay raises for city employees.

“What we are presenting today is a post-crisis, post-COVID budget,” Duggan told council members. “It’s really a return to a normal budget.”

About two years ago, Duggan said the state’s forced closure of Detroit’s three casinos, auto factories and other businesses to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus would cost the city $348 million over a year and half. Detroit cut $400 million from its budget to offset pandemic-related revenue losses to keep the budget balanced and prevent the city’s return to state financial oversight, Duggan said.

About 2,000 city employees have been furloughed or part-time.

Federal funds have helped Detroit and other cities weather financial losses during the pandemic, but that money is nearly exhausted.

Detroit’s finances were controlled by a state-appointed manager in 2013 when the city filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in December 2014 after a federal judge approved a plan to restructure the city’s $12 billion debt.

But the city remained under the control of a financial review board that required the state to sign every contract, every budget and every union agreement, Duggan said.

After three straight years of balanced budgets, Detroit was released from active state oversight in 2018, although the review board is required to keep its eyes on Detroit for another decade to ensure Detroit had balanced annual budgets.

“We came out of active surveillance in 2018, shocked everyone that we got out as soon as possible,” Duggan said. “And with this year’s budget proposal, it would be the fifth year of 10 on passive surveillance.”

“I hope you will share with me the passion to ensure that the city of Detroit never again loses its right to self-determination,” he told the city council.


Williams reported from Southfield, Michigan.

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