Detroit City Council votes against Duggan’s $250 million bond proposal to fight blight

Mayor wanted proposal to go in front of voters in 2020

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (WDIV)
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (WDIV)

DETROIT – The Detroit City Council has voted against Mayor Mike Duggan’s ballot initiative aimed to fund the completion of the city’s blight removal program.

Duggan had presented City Council a request to authorize a March 2020 ballot initiative asking voters to give the city authority to sell up to $250 million in bonds to remove all residential blight from every Detroit neighborhood by mid-2025. The City Council voted Tuesday, 6-3, against putting the proposal in front of voters.

Here’s how the Council members voted:

  • Yes: Gabe Leland, Janee Ayers, Scott Benson
  • No: Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Roy McCalister, Jr., Mary Sheffield, Brenda Jones, Andre Spivey, and James Tate

If it had been approved by City Council, voters would have been asked to approve the bond sale at the ballot box during the March 2020 Presidential primary election.

The blight removal program started in 2014. Since, 19,000 vacant homes have been demolished, with an additional 9,000 homes that have been rehabbed, according to the city. The program has been funded primarily by $265 million in federal funds.

The proposal stated the bonds would be repaid back over the next 30 years using existing tax revenue budgeted for debt retirement. The bond sale would not result in increased taxes. Without the bond funds, the city said it expected it would take 13 years to complete the same number of demolitions using available city general funds.

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