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What's changed 1 year after Detroit's bankruptcy

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Posted at 2:54 AM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 02:54:34-05

Thursday, Detroit marks one year since the city exited bankruptcy and noticeable changes have already taken place.

After paying down debt and other expenses, the city's budget is projected to have a $35 million surplus for the fiscal year that began July 1. That's a major improvement from a few years earlier when it often struggled to find the money for worker paychecks.

So far, the city has met all the targets it agreed to under the bankruptcy such as developing a four-year financial plan and reaching a collective bargaining agreement with a major union.

The city earlier this year submitted its first balanced budget in more than a decade. Residential development near downtown and a new professional hockey arena are coming.

Here are some of the improvements since Detroit exited bankruptcy in December 2014 according to the City of Detroit, Detroit Land Bank and Detroit Public Lighting Authority:

   --  7,100 of an estimated 40,000 vacant houses demolished since May 2014

   --  Land Bank has closed on 560 of 21,000 houses it owns. Of the 1,100 that have been put up for auction, bids have been received on 843 houses.

   --  Agreements reached with owners of 500 vacant homes to rehab the properties or face legal action by the city

   --  Response times on 911 priority calls down to about nine minutes from reported 50 minutes for all 911 calls

   --  10 new fire rigs and 15 ambulances added to Fire/EMS fleet; six rescue squad vehicles ordered

   --  80 new public city buses added, allowed the city to meet posted schedules for the first time in about 20 years

   --  Public Lighting Authority installed 58,000 LED streetlights with another 7,000 coming by the end of next year