April 7, 2022
In regard to the City of Detroit Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2023, the Moratorium Now Coalition finds the mayor’s proposed budget unacceptable.
The proposed budget of $2,453,276,906 in a city with a poverty rate of 35.02% and a reported unemployment rate of 9% should have more funds going directly to the community for services and programs that would improve the quality of life. Some of the proposed budget items we find unacceptable are:
- A transportation budget increase of $4M with no additional driver’s positons added. The 19 new positons the mayor has boasted about adds 10 management positions and 9 in support service. Bus drivers need to make a decent wage and we need additional drivers and more positons to service the buses.
- The Health Department budget is almost nonexistent. The proposed budget of $44M is comprised of $33M of grant funds and $10M from the general fund. Detroit is a city in a mental health crisis with only $679,000 of the $44M budgeted for community health services. Residents are demanding a safer community and our mayor’s only solution to address this issue is to increase the police budget. This is unacceptable. Detroiters need the Health Department budget increased. We need quality mental health services available to all in need. We don’t need more funding for the police department. We believe that if our city addresses our mental health crisis and poverty then our city becomes safer. When people’s needs are met, crime decreases.
- The proposed budget increases the Law Department budget by over $4M for salaries. The residents are demanding the Right to Council for residents facing rental evictions. The mayor, through his appointee from the Law Department, has been making statements that he will veto any budget that funds the Right to Council. The Law Department has countersued citizens who were attacked by the police while excising their right to protest peacefully. Then the Law Department asked for funding to hire lawyers to sue our citizens and legal observers who were standing up our rights and humanity. The mayor needs to stop attacking the people of Detroit through his appointees. Funds for the Right to Council can be made available with the proposed increase to the Law Department budget and from special attorney fees the Law Department requests through the year.
- The proposal for housing of $56M consists of $41M of grants, and $16M from the general fund. This is unacceptable in a city with older houses and a poverty rate of 35%. Residents have been pleading with this administration for a viable home repair program. The amount in this budget for house repairs and rehabs is shameful.
- Neighborhood improvement fund $1M and Community Development $1.4M. Additional funding from the general fund needs to be budgeted for home repairs and low income housing.
- The proposed Police budget is $368M with a proposed increase of over $50M. The line item for victim assistance in this budget is only $820,000 in a city with a high crime rate.
- Executive Protection is budgeted for $2.2M with a staff of 24. Victims of crimes deserve more support and services. Domestic violence and rape victims receive very little funding and support. We should spend more funds on supporting victims of crimes and less on executive protection.
- Police community service staff is down to 30 from 50. The Office of the Chief staff went up from 21 to 33. In addition, a new unit has been added – Planning and Inspecting – from 0 to 21 staff. These moves are supposed to make Detroiters safer. It seems the only people being made safe are the executives.
These are just some of the problems with this budget. We urge council to veto this budget and submit one that will address the needs of the people.
Moratorium Now Coalition