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City Council approves $1 billion Detroit budget

Paul Hitzelberger
United Photo Works

The Detroit City Council has approved a more than $1 billion budgetfor the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

That budget is nearly the same as theone Mayor Dave Bing proposed last month.

The Council did shave a few million dollars off that, mostly through cuts to its own budget and that of the mayor’s office.

City Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown was one of three members to vote against the amended budget. He says it doesn’t do enough to pay down Detroit’s deficit, expected to jump to $380 million.

“The mayor gave us a budget that was fundamentally flawed,” Brown says. “ It did not address the deficit, number one. It did not address eliminating any non-essential services.”

But Council President Charles Pugh says there’s a good reason for that.

“We’re at the point now where there’s really nothing more to cut” without compromising basic services like public safety, Pugh says. “We’ve got to generate revenue, we’ve got to restructure the debt.”

Those are the two main assignments Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is supposed to tackle.

Orr has final say over the budget, but he’s been fairly hands-off throughout the budget process so far. Pugh says Orr is slated to meet with Council members next week.

But the budget first goes to Bing’s office for approval or veto. A Bing spokesman says the mayor hasn’t yet looked at the Council’s budget, and won’t comment on it until he does.

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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