Fouts vetoes council-approved $337M Warren budget in latest fight

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

In another sign of their constant battles, Warren Mayor James Fouts said Tuesday he is vetoing the City Council's approved $337 million budget over what he called "political motivated flaws."

Fouts cited in a Tuesday news release cuts for a new fire station and that the council slashed positions such as diversity director, economic development director, a deputy director of senior housing and an assistant attorney position, among other changes.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts addresses the media before he releases 300 Painted Lady butterflies into the butterfly habitat on the south side of the city complex, near the library, Wednesday afternoon, September 15, 2021.

"This budget has earned my veto because it’​s politically motivated flaws do not serve the people of this community," Fouts said in a statement. "The city council 'Gang of Four' seems motivated to issue political vengeance instead of serving the city, and I won’t go along."

Fouts said the council "is attempting to change the form of government by now micromanaging the mayor’s office and administration."

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"They want to approve the current office staff of the mayor's office. Failure to approve could mean the mayor would have no staff," his news release stated. "This poses a danger for all strong mayor form of governments including Detroit, Dearborn, Livonia, and Lansing and many other strong city governments."

The mayor said council members have also removed all American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the police and fire departments along with the library, recreation and cyber security.

City Council President Patrick Green heard about the veto without any chance to review it, but scoffed Tuesday at the mayor's assertions, saying Fouts doesn't follow the law when it comes to the budget, which has landed both sides in court.

Green said the budget presented "followed hours of conversation with the administration and the public," and placed a higher priority on increased funding for police, fire, parks and libraries. The positions the mayor mentioned no longer existed, he said.

"These are the core functions meant to bring a better quality of life to everyone in the city," Green said. "If the mayor is against police and against fire, and against parks and against libraries, then I guess that's why he vetoed it."

Green said another part of the council's budget was putting $1 million into bringing all city buildings up to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.