Detroit City Council, mayor's office plan to cooperate to fix financial crisis

Committee comprised of council members, Detroit mayor's staff members will work to hash out difference

Author: Rod Meloni, Local 4 Business Editor, @RodMeloni
Published On: Dec 04 2012 04:49:10 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 04 2012 08:38:25 PM EST
DETROIT -

Detroit City Council heard strangely opposing concerns from Mayor Dave Bing's staff on Tuesday.

The money is tighter than reported, but it's a solvable problem.

In a press briefing later in the day, program manager Kriss Andrews moved the "we're running out of cash" line in the sand.

"We will work our way through December," Andrews said. "The issue we have is that we need to take action now in order to be able to work our way through April, May and June where the deficiencies are much greater."

Read more: Detroit City Council meets, budget vote adjourned

However, the budget woes are real. The projected shortfall right now is $47 million, which is far more than the $30 the state of Michigan is withholding.

If little changes the budget deficit could double in size by next June. Detroit's funds are not enough to cover that either. That means furloughs and layoffs for city workers in January, no matter what.

Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis admitted another shift in position that only through cooperation can the city move forward.

"This is a crisis now," Lewis said. "Now we can't just panic. We have to take, understand the issue, analyze the issue and put a plan in place and execute."

City Council member Gary Brown says it's about time.

"For the past two years we've asked the mayor, this administration to cut the budget by $100 million and have we would have done that we wouldn't be in the situation we are in today," Brown said.

A committee comprised of three members of Bing's staff and three City Council members -- likely President Charles Pugh, Ken Cockrel Jr. and Brown -- will meet within the next 24 hours to hash out the problems between the two.

The committee will go all week if they have to, leading to a very important day next week -- Dec. 11. That is the day when City Council will vote on what gets negotiated.