Detroit Mayor Duggan, city’s Charter Revision Commission at odds over proposed changes

Duggan says the changes would result in large deficit in city budget

Battle brewing over Detroit's proposed new city charter
Battle brewing over Detroit's proposed new city charter

DETROIT – A new tug-of war has emerged between Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the city’s Charter Revision Commission.

The Commission is proposing sweeping changes to the city, including caps on water rates and specific spending requirements. However, Duggan’s office said the money is not there to pay for it if the new charter is adopted.

“The charter, as proposed, would mean a $2 billion deficit in the city budget. It would send us straight back to state oversight and bankruptcy,” Duggan said. “Put in things like free sidewalks, free buses, free internet -- $2 billion in expenses and no way to pay for them. This is how Detroit got into the mess it was in.”

However, vice chairwoman Nicole Small said that’s not how the commission sees it.

“I don’t know what he is reading, I don’t know where this number is coming from,” Small said.

The commission started working on revisions in 2018 and hurried to make the submission deadline. The changes were submitted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.

Small said it is No. 1 on the citizens’ concerns list.

“We want to ensure that we have more safeguards in the charter to increase transparency and accountability,” she said.

Small cites the land bank, property acquisition. The commission wants income-based water bills as well as mental health exams for police officers.

“It’s quite evident that Detroiters need to increase their standards. A lot of tax subsidies are going to multi-millionaires and billionaires and there aren’t substantive benefits coming back to the community,” she said.

However, Duggan said, “You’ve got a charter where everybody who had an idea, everything got put in and nobody ever worried about what it was going to cost.”

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About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.