Dearborn Heights City Council passes budget, ending shutdown threat

Posted at 8:58 PM, Jun 28, 2024

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The city of Dearborn Heights passed a budget Friday night, avoiding a shutdown after months of discussion.

The city council passed the new budget with a 5-2 vote. They plan to meet again in the coming weeks to finalize details and make possible amendments.

The budget will now be sent to the state.

Watch our previous report about the city facing a shutdown below:

Dearborn Heights at risk of city shutdown impacting police, fire and trash pick up

“It's a great outcome for everybody,” City Council Chairman Mo Baydoun said.

Baydoun says the nearly $80 million budget has a surplus of $177,000.

“City services are going to continue, our police department is going to be able to go to work, our fire department is going to be able to go to work, all of our city staff members are going to be coming to work,” Baydoun said.

Dearborn Heights City Council Chairman Mo Baydoun

If a budget was not passed by July 1, there would have been a shutdown that impacted city services such as employee pay for police and fire personnel. Trash pickup, senior and youth recreation services, public works services, the city’s telephone system and its website and cable TV channel would have also shut down.

Many concerned Dearborn Heights residents were in attendance Friday night including Bill Strieff.

“It was long overdue. I'm disappointed it took this long to come to this agreement," Strieff said. “As far as who to blame, I'm not going to put blame anywhere at this point because I don't really know. I'm just happy that we’ve reached an agreement to at least keep the city operating.”

Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 11.26.53 PM.png

City council started talking about the budget in April but had been unable to come to an agreement with the mayor on spending for the next fiscal year. Both blamed the other for the delay.

“I just wish we could've done this much earlier, at least a month, month and a half ago like we were supposed to,” Mayor Bill Bazzi said.'

Dearborn Heights Mayor Bill Bazzi

The budget finally came together after an hour-long break on Friday. During that break, a few council members met in private and at least one council member spoke against that.

"I don’t think it was too cool and very disrespectful to myself and the other three council members who weren't invited to that special meeting you held back there,” City Councilman Tom Wencel said.

VIDEO: Dearborn Heights City Council, leadership at odds over Mayor's no confidence vote

Dearborn Heights City Council, leadership at odds over Mayor's no confidence vote

Baydoun said, "We didn't deliberate anything, we didn't communicate anything and there wasn't even four council members in there — there was only a total of three. So technically, you wouldn't be violating the Open Meetings Act."

Shortly after the budget was passed, the mayor walked out before public comment. Some residents spoke out about that, urging council members and the mayor to come together.

Bill Bazzi

“Use your voices, work together, but don't let this happen again,” resident Lori Moline said.

Although the budget is passed, the debate is not over yet. One council member hopes to cut another $750,000 out of the budget. They will meet again on July 16 to discuss that.