Detroit Mayor Duggan’s $250 million bond proposal to fight blight hits roadblock

City Council denies mayor’s request

DETROIT – The Detroit City Council voted against Mayor Mike Duggan’s $250 million bond proposal to fight blight Tuesday.

The Council voted 6-3 to deny the mayor’s request for the proposal to go to voters in March.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting started off with fireworks. Council President Brenda Jones demanded the crowd to calm down several times.

“Please respect each other, as I asked people to respect you when you are talking,”she said.

For the second day in a row, Duggan’s proposal on demolition was the center of attention. Duggan 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. He said he wants to get rid of all residential blight from every Detroit neighborhood by mid-2025.

“To allocate over half a billion dollars to tearing down homes, but you’re not addressing what’s causing the blight in our community, is a problem for me,” said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.

Voters had a lot to say.

“I was on Council when that hardest hit money was used allegedly for blight -- not accounted for correctly, no record keeping. This bond will add more burden onto the taxpayers,” said former City Council member JoAnn Watson.

Councilman Gabe Leland, who voted “yes,” released a statement: “Who’s going to fight for the residents in our neighborhoods who continue to suffer from blight? I received several hundred calls from residents and met with many others that overwhelmingly wanted an opportunity to vote on this proposal."

Duggan responded to the negative vote.

“I didn’t hear any Council member say that it wasn’t important to get blight out of our neighborhoods. What we need is a plan that both the mayor and Council can agree with. I’m willing to work with them on that," he said.

About the Author: