Mayor submits proposed spending plan for $156M budget surplus to City Council for approval
- Mayor proposes $20M additional to replace broken neighborhood sidewalks, $18M to remove dangerous buildings and trees and $16M for park renovations
- Priorities also include funding for new replacement People Mover cars and development of new State Fair Transit Center
- Plan earmarks $70M in funds for risk management liabilities & to protect retiree pensions
Mayor Mike Duggan has submitted to City Council a proposed amendment to the City’s current fiscal year budget that outlines his administration’s plan to spend $156 million in surplus funds from the 2021-22 fiscal year. The surplus is attributed to much higher than projected revenues, primarily due to growing income tax revenues generated by the thousands of new jobs coming into the city.
Under the Mayor's proposal, the city will invest $86 million in mostly neighborhood-level capital improvements, such as accelerated park improvements, blight remediation, dangerous tree removal and sidewalk replacement, while $70 million will be used to shore up the city’s retiree protection plan and risk management fund.
“Last year’s surplus is a clear indication that the city’s economic recovery is continuing and will be put to use largely to make physical improvements to many of our neighborhoods,” said Chief Financial Officer Jay Rising. “This reinvestment will help stimulate future growth and stability in the City’s finances, which will allow for more of this type of neighborhood investment in the future.”
Among the administration’s key spending priorities for the surplus are neighborhood capital improvement projects that could be under construction this summer if the plan is approved. Those include:
- $20.5 million neighborhood sidewalk replacement program. This program would address approximately 70,000 damaged sidewalk slabs across the city.
- $16.2 million to renovate city parks on a faster schedule than previously planned. It is estimated that more than 20 neighborhood parks with new landscaping, equipment, and other amenities.
- $13 million for demolition of dangerous or unsalvageable buildings. This funding will help to accelerate the city’s efforts to rid the city of blighted and dangerous buildings that are not able to be funded out of voter approved Proposal N bonds.
- $5 million for dangerous/dead tree removal. While the city has removed more than 30,000 dead and dangerous trees from city property over the past 8 years, the City still receives complaints of trees on private property that present a potential danger to the community. This additional funding is expected to address the removal of thousands of trees.
- $19.9 million for transportation. This will cover the cost of purchasing replacement cars for the Detroit People Mover and part of the cost of adaptively reusing the dairy cattle barn at the former state fairgrounds for use as a new transit center for DDOT.
- $17.9 million in other one-time expenditures, including replacement bulletproof vests for police officers, elections equipment, citywide blight mapping, city fleet electrification, and pandemic response.
In addition to these neighborhood-based expenditures, the city is also earmarking $10 million for its ongoing Retiree Protection Fund to make sure retiree pensions are not at risk when the city’s pension obligation spike starting next year. Another $60 million would be put into the risk management fund to protect basic city services from being impacted by the cost of lawsuit judgments and settlements.
An additional $74 million of 2021-22 surplus revenue – making for a total of $203 million – will be incorporated in the Mayor’s 2023-24 proposed budget, which he will present to City Council on March 3.
City’s economic forecast remains positive
A study released Monday by the University of Michigan concluded that Detroit’s economic growth will continue, even in the face of an expected mild national recession. The city, however, still plans to be conservative in its fiscal approach to ensure it has the cushion necessary to withstand any economic fluctuations.
The City will hold its Revenue Estimating Conference at 1:00 p.m. Monday, February 13 in the 13th Floor Erma L. Henderson Auditorium. The public is invited to attend in person or virtually at https://cityofdetroit.zoom.us/j/87228238067.