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Flint budget deficit lower - Good news or 'politically suspect'?

Downtown Flint, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Downtown Flint, Michigan

Flint mayor Dayne Walling said the city’s budget deficit has been cut in half. Walling’s opponent in next week’s election said he doesn’t believe the mayor.  

Mayor Dayne Wallingsaid a just completed review shows Flint finished its last fiscal year $7.34 million in the red. But that’s about half of what was expected ($14.62 million). Walling said it’s a sign budget reforms he’s put in place over the past two years are working.  

"With any changes it takes time to be able to be calculated and assured," said Walling.  

The new Flint budget numbers are ‘unaudited’ and that’s important to Walling’s opponent in next week’s mayoral election.  Darryl Buchanan said the numbers can’t be trusted.   

“His numbers are suspect to me and political," said Buchanan, " And I think we have a major problem.”  

Flint officials said the latest budget numbers will be available to the state team reviewing the city’s finances.    The state team is trying to determine if the governor should appoint an emergency manager to run Flint.  

The eight-member panel appointed by the governor in September was supposed to delivery its recommendations to the governor by the end of October.   However, the panel requested and the governor approved an extension of up to 30 days. 

Flint was the subject of a state government takeover in 2002. 

Many people in Flint complain that previous state takeover did little to solve the city's financial problems.     

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.