Review commission OKs Detroit’s 4-year budget
Detroit — The state-mandated Detroit Financial Review Commission approved the city’s four-year financial plan at its monthly meeting Monday, on an 8-0 vote with one member, Tony Saunders, absent.
The panel, appointed to monitor the city’s finances after its historic municipal bankruptcy, reviewed more than 500 pages of the city’s detailed budget, and received recommendations from consultants Martha Kopacz of Boston-based Phoenix Management Services and Chris Peterson of the Detroit office of UHY Advisors.
The commission found the plan and budget to be consist with former city Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan of adjustment, approved in federal bankruptcy court, and 2014 budget. Both Mayor Mike Duggan, a commission member, and John Hall, the city’s chief financial officer, noted that some of the city’s plans to restructure and cut costs aren’t tracking perfectly with some of the recommendations. However, other budget-cutting or revenue-producing changes will be made to keep the total savings and revenue consistent with the plan and budget.
“We’re finding some of those restructuring issues proposed almost two years ago by consultants are not turning out to be realistic,” Duggan said, “but the global amount of savings, we are going to make.”
The commission also reviewed 29 contracts and approved them.
The commission’s next big project is to review an audit of Detroit’s 2014 finances.
The commission was established by the Legislature as a condition of the “grand bargain,” which sent some state money to bolster Detroit’s pension funds, as well as gathering donations from private foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts to protect city-owned masterpieces from being sold off to pay creditors in the bankruptcy.
The nine-member board includes Duggan, City Council President Brenda Jones and John Roberts, the state budget director, with state Treasurer Kevin Clinton as chairman. In addition to those legally required appointments, there also are five members designated by the governor.
The next meeting takes place at 2:30 p.m. May 18, 2015 at Cadillac Place, 3062 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit.