Detroit city council examines dramatic cuts to avoid state takeover

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit city leaders are scrambling to stop the budget bleeding and avoid a state takeover by proposing drastic cuts.

City council members met for more than three hours Monday afternoon to find $102-million in cuts. At the end of the day, they had agreed to just over $60-million.

"Selling the city of Detroit's cemeteries. Some of the other things include ending vehicle leases," outlined Councilman Kenneth Cockrel.

That's just the beginning. Under the proposed cuts, all of the city's recreation centers would go dark, salvaging about $19-million. There's also the possibility of privatizing services such as emergency medical services. "It's always a controversial issue," admitted Cockrel. "But the reality is that I think it's something we have to take a real serious look at. Privatizing D-Dot, possibly privatizing other services."

Council members would reduce their salary budget by 21%. They also want to slice the incomes of workers earning more than $100-thousand dollars by  15%. These last minute cuts are in addition to the 2,300 layoffs council members are already pushing for.

The proposal needs approval from Mayor Dave Bing, who has already put forth his own plan which hinges on concessions from the city's unions. The mayor has said he wants union negotiations to be finalized by Tuesday. In a statement to Action News, the Mayor's Chief of Staff Kirk Lewis said, "We're executing our plan. We feel that it's the most responsible plan to execute at this time."

All of this comes before Governor Snyder's deadline for reform by next week as the state considers the implementation of an emergency manager.

"The bottom line is we've run out of time, we got to cut somewhere," said President Pro Tem Gary Brown.

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