Budget Watch: Hello Detroit

October 7, 2021

Budget Watch: Informing Detroiters of How the City is Spending Our Money

Hello Detroit,

Want to know how the city is spending your money? To get answers to this question, Detroit People’s Platform DUG into the administration’s budget plans and process to show YOU, Detroit, exactly where our tax dollars are going. We plan to keep you inform about the budget process in a series of letters over the next few months leading up to the budget approval by city council in April 2022.

Start of the Budget Process

Just a few weeks ago, on September 15th, the budget process began with the city holding its annual September Revenue Estimating Conference. At this meeting the city informs the public of how much total revenue they expect to generate for the upcoming fiscal year. This conference is important because it, for one, lets us know exactly how much of our money the city will have and, two, it sets the limit for how much money the city is legally allowed to spend. When revenue is lower than expected, Detroiters should be concerned about cuts to important public services and programs like transit and recreation. And when revenue is higher than expected, Detroiters should be concerned about how the extra money will be spent, where it will go, and how the spending will benefit majority Black

The revenue estimates from the September conference revealed that Detroit expects to bring in $111 million more in revenue than what was predicted just 7 months ago in February 2021. Most of the increase is due to unaccounted revenue from online casino gaming. Total expected revenue for 2022, which will begin next year on July 1st, was estimated at $1.106 billion! How should the additional $111 million in revenue be allocated? Should it go to affordable housing, home repair, storm water management, parks, etc.?

In addition, the conference also reveled that Detroit residents are not benefiting from the city’s economic development model. Even though the average wage of a Detroit job has climbed to $85,000 a year, the average wage for Detroit residents is much lower at only $45,000. That means while the labor market is growing in Detroit, majority Black Detroit are not getting the good paying jobs. So, who is really benefiting from Detroit’s economic success?

Next Steps

On October 21, 2021 at 5:30pm, the city will host a public meeting to release the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) early plans on how the next budget for fiscal year 2022 will look. In this meeting we will get a first glimpse of how the city plans to spend our money and how they plan to spend the $111 million in unexpected revenue. This will be an opportunity for community to voice to the city their concerns about the budget and where WE would like to see our money go, including the extra $111 million. Access the meeting via zoom using the following link: https://cityofdetroit.zoom.us/j/81128964115

Over the next 5 months, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Jay Rising, and the Mayor will review the revenue estimates and complete the administration’s final budget for the city before it is presented to Detroit City Council.  Community should contact these elected and public officials to hold them accountable. We should demand that monies be spent to bring relief to majority Black Detroit.

Learn More about our fight for Good Governance in Detroit

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