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Detroit Mayor, Council meet to discuss "confidential" memos

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will meet with City Council members behind closed doors Wednesday.

Among other things, they’ll discuss a confidential analysis detailing the city’s finances.

The analysis itself hints at cash flow problems for the city. Detroit is trying to work its way out from under a $155 million deficit.

The Council approved Bing’s proposed five-year deficit elimination plan in July, but the state has yet to approve it.

Councilman Gary Brown said Bing hasn’t updated Council on why that is. He said the Council needs to know a lot more about the city’s fiscal situation, particularly if revenues aren’t panning out as expected.

“We need to know when will the [budget] amendments be coming back to Council, so that we can make the adjustments,” Brown said. “Will that come in the form of layoffs? Will that come in the form of mothballing departments? What is the plan, Mr. Mayor?”

Brown said approving the deficit elimination plan is also needed for the city to issue bonds for some critical projects.

“There are at least $300 million worth of bonds that have to be approved for the water department. There are $75 million worth of bonds that have to be approved with regard to the light rail, to keep that project on track. And because the deficit elimination plan has not been approved, we cannot put those bonds out on the street. So those projects are in jeopardy.”

Bing and the Council will also hold separate sessions to discuss chronic problems with thecity’s buses and streetlights.

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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