Other Policies

In addition to the budget initiatives, the Mayor developed a number of other strategies to improve the delivery of services and the city's quality of life. To reduce the city's severe crime problem, more than 300 police were moved from desk jobs to street patrols and about 2,000 police reserves were deployed on buses, and in parks and schoolyards. City road crews filled more than 500,000 potholes. Garbage collectors reduced the time between pickups from 14 days to 10 days.

Under the direction of Jay Alix, a restructuring specialist, the Mayor created 13 "turnaround teams" and instituted a "total quality management" program in an attempt to streamline city government. This re-engineering program was designed to restructure the work process and improve the city's process of service delivery.

The Mayor also suggested Detroit needed to get residential, commercial and industrial property back on the tax rolls. As a first step, the City took an inventory of the property it owns with the goal of eventually transferring as many parcels as possible to private ownership.

The Mayor also convened a 34-member Land Use Task Force to prepare a comprehensive land use plan for the City. In the past, Detroit often ignored comprehensive planning in favor of quickfix projects and unproductive sprawl. Furthermore, many businesses have complained that it was difficult to maneuver through the city's bureaucracy in order to obtain the necessary permits, and to secure regulatory approvals to commence development and expansion. In recognition of this fact, the Mayor has organized a Task Force for the Review of Permits, Licensing, and Regulations Systems.

As part of the application process for a federal empowerment zone, the Mayor raised $1.9 billion in commitments from major area businesses for investment in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. This was the largest amount of private sector commitments obtained by any city which applied for an approved federal empowerment zone. Each of the major automakers promised to help create distinctive education programs. For instance, Chrysler Corporation committed its computer labs and other teaching facilities for college-level classes on the latest manufacturing technology.

Mayor Archer also proposed the creation of a new Business 2000 Center that would use public and private resources to create a "One Stop Capital Shop" at the Kresge building. The center would help small- and midsize businesses get loans and provide technical and marketing advice. In addition, city agencies would help set up a "model industrial area" east of downtown for cleanup and redevelopment and help a major developer create a new 100-acre industrial park in southwest Detroit.

In November, Detroit Renaissance announced plans to invest $40 to $60 million to spur downtown development. Furthermore, Acquest Realty Advisors and National Bank of Detroit also committed to invest at least $25 million and raise additional capital from pension funds to invest in projects providing economic rates of return in the city.

Since taking office, Mayor Archer has reached out to the suburbs in a reversal of the combative approach of his predecessor. The Mayor has appealed to the whole region to work together in order to turn the city around.

Table 2:

Summary of Other Initiatives

·        Movement of more than 300 police from desks jobs to street patrols.

·        Reduction in the time between garbage pickups from 14 to 10 days.

·        Creation of "turnaround teams" and institution of a "total quality management" program.

·        Completion of an inventory of city-owned property.

·        Organization of a Land Use Task Force and Task Force for the Review of Permits, Licensing, and Regulations Systems to facilitate development.

·        Procurement of $1.9 billion in capital commitments from major area businesses as part of federal empowerment zone application.

·        Attraction of funds from Detroit Renaissance, Acquest Realty Advisors, and National Bank of Detroit to spur downtown development.

·        Cooperation with suburban municipalities to advance the city's interests.