DETROIT Feb 13 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on
Wednesday argued against a takeover of the financially strapped
city by the state, saying the Michigan government bears some
responsibility for Detroit's fiscal problems.
With the prospect that the appointment of an emergency
financial manager for the city could come soon, the mayor in his
state of the city address tried to turn the table on the
"The total amount of cutbacks in state revenue sharing to
Detroit over the past 11 years is more than $700 million.
Detroit's current general fund deficit is $327 million," Bing
"So, it is clear that if Detroit had received its agreed
upon share of revenues from the state, our financial picture
would not be as grim today," he added. Bing made the remarks in
his annual state of the city speech, held at the Detroit School
of Arts in the Midtown neighborhood before about 250 people.
Governor Rick Snyder appointed a team in December to examine
Detroit's finances and determine if it needs a state-appointed
manager, who could ultimately opt for bankruptcy for the city
unless the state blocks the move.
Bing and the city council have been working to cut expenses
and restructure the government to head off a state takeover or
what would be the biggest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing
ever in the United States.
In his speech, the mayor said he has made difficult and
unpopular decisions including job cuts and the privatization of
some city services.
"Beginning tonight, it is time to change the conversation
about Detroit. It is time to focus on the many positive changes
taking place." he said.
Under a consent agreement Detroit struck with the state last
April, the city has made "significant progress" in some of the
25 reform initiatives that were identified to address chronic
problems, Bing said.
The mayor also hailed new state laws that created a
regional mass transportation authority for the Detroit area and
a lighting authority that will finance improvements to the
city's outdated street lighting system.
Detroit, which is checkered with abandoned and dilapidated
buildings, is working through a public-private partnership
spearheaded by Bill Pulte of Pulte Homes to tear down eyesore
buildings, Bing announced.