FLINT-In order to cut about $16 million from the city's 2001-02 budget and avert a state takeover, Flint's city council has voted to close the city jail and fire station and cut 86 positions from the police and fire departments. The city is also going to privatize four city services, including waste collection and city golf courses; rotate the closing of four recreation centers; and close two swimming pools.
The Michigan Treasury Department threatened to intervene if the city could not pass a budget by June 30. The threat came after a failed attempt to approve a budget during a special session two days earlier. The cuts will take effect during a transition phase lasting anywhere from 90 days to six months. City Administrator Darnell Earley said that he expects the city council to alter more aspects of Mayor Woodrow Stanley's budget plan, which showed $68.5 million in revenue and $66.5 million in expenditures.
The council's other budget amendments include eliminating the Human Services Department and the positions of budget director, city ombudsman, and the mayor's constituent director. It would also reduce funding for the city's information service hotline and eliminate the fire prevention bureau, which would be incorporated into another department.
Editor's Note: Michigan Privatization Report has covered Flint's budget issues in the past. See "Is There Gold in Garbage?" in our summer 1999 issue.