Detroit City Council approves mayor's $1 billion budget with some changes

Council presidents says focus needs to be on making money, not making cuts

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor, Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council on Friday approved the $1 billion budget proposed by the mayor -- but amended it to include some deeper cuts.

Mayor Dave Bing had presented the city's fiscal year 2013-14 budget in April. It included a $4 million reduction for the nine-member City Council and also goes to a single staffer for each member.

Council also added a $1.5 million cut to the mayor's office and took more than half a million dollars from city subsidies to the Detroit Zoo, Eastern Market and the Detroit Historical Society.

The mayor's proposal called for filling about 40 emergency medical services positions, but leaves unfilled about 100 other vacancies across departments, including police.

Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown said he wasn't happy with the budget.

"The mayor gave us a budget that was fundamentally flawed. It did not address the deficit, for one. It did not address eliminating any non-essential services," he said. "For those reasons, I thought we should have been able to find at least $76 million to put into an appropriations to pay down the deficit. We weren't able to do that and I voted no."

Council President Charles Pugh said the focus needs to be on making more money for the city.

"It would be irresponsible to cut anymore. What we need to do now is restructure that debt and look at ways to generate major revenue for the city," he said.

The new budget will be the first while the city is under state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr's oversight.

Detroit's new fiscal year begins July 1.

The city's unemployment rate has fallen in recent years with a rebound in the auto industry, but at 18.3% it is still nearly triple where it stood at in 2000 and more than double the national rate.

Special Section: Detroit in Crisis

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