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Bing: "Time for talk is over" on Detroit budget

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says there’s no more reason to negotiate with City Council over the budget. That means he’ll implement the Council-approved budget, even though he maintains it will mean devastating cuts.
Bing and the Council have been wrestling for months over how much money to cut from next fiscal year’s budget. Council wants to cut $50 million more than Bing.
Bing then proposed an amendment to restore $30 million, but Council voted that down Tuesday.
Council members virtually assured Bing they would vote to restore some money. And Bing says going forth with the current budget will devastate vital city services.
But Bing now says he’s done. He says two Council members who had promised “yes” votes on his proposed compromise later reneged, and he no longer trusts them.
“You can’t really believe what they’re saying. So me and my staff, we need to get on with our work. We’ve spent way too much time on this budget.”

Bing says the “dealbreaker” was cuts to the city’s Police and Fire Departments. 
“At the heart of our disagreement is the importance of public safety. Council demonstrated today that they are determined to reduce our public safety presence in the community and the on the streets by demanding additional police and fire budget cuts.”

Council members insist their budget cuts wouldn’t cause layoffs, and say Bing is using scare tactics to get his way.
Councilwoman Brenda Jones says it was “fiscally responsible” to reject the $30 million budget amendment, and maintains the Council’s budget wouldn’t necessitate layoffs. 

“We’ve carried a deficit year after year after year. Council went through the budget. Council did its due diligence. Council pulled out appropriations; and the appropriations we pulled out, we showed where no one needed to be laid off.”

The 2012 fiscal year starts July 1st. But Bing could theoretically bring budget amendments to Council for approval at any point during the year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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