Local and State Government

Detroit Budget Woes Could Leave Areas Of City Without Police, Fire Services, Garbage Pickup

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In yet another sign of growing fiscal problems for states and municipalities, Detroit may be cutting key services in certain portions of the city, the WSJ reports.
This could mean that city officials will be faced with the tough decision whether to repurpose or outright abandon certain sections of the city, as the population has dwindled by half since 1950. Here's the WSJ:
"Until now, the mayor [Dave Bing] and his staff have spoken mostly in generalities about the problem, stressing the need for community input and pledging to a skeptical public that no resident would be forced to move.
But the approach discussed by city officials could have that effect. Mr. Bing's staff wants to concentrate Detroit's remaining population--expected to be less than 900,000 after this year's Census count--and limited local, state and federal dollars in the most viable swaths of the city, while other sectors could go without such services as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair and street lights."
The move comes after the city borrowed $100 million to fund its police and fire departments and used other bond offerings to raise funds.
Mayor Dave Bing also recently announced that the city will offer incentives to residents to move to certain less blighted areas of town. Here's the AP with more details:
"The city has identified at least seven to nine population centers that would encompass two-thirds of its 139 square miles, the newspaper reported. Bing said his administration by spring plans to make the locations of core areas public and final decisions haven't been made. Details of incentives also haven't been decided.
"I don't want people to think that, if they hold out, there's going to be a pot full of money somewhere, because there's not," Bing said.
At a news conference Thursday, Bing aide Karla Henderson said the idea behind the plan is to concentrate the city's limited resources into stronger, more compact neighborhoods.
"We don't have a formal plan, but we feel we need to go back out to the community and share this information with our residents," said Henderson, group executive of the city's planning and facilities department.
Huffington Post

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