Federal windfall: Mayor Duggan tonight previews spending choices for $826 million in Detroit aid

May 25, 2021, 8:29 AM

Mike Duggan catches a timely break this election year: He invites Detroiters to have a say on how the city should use $413 million in federal aid.

That windfall, available next month, is the first half of Detroit's $826 million in economic recovery support to offset pandemic-related budget losses. The second share comes in 2022 and all revenue must be spent by the end of 2024.

In a public forum on Zoom at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the mayor will outline possible spending areas for money from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed in March by President Biden to help families, states and local governments in areas with populations above 500,000.

Mayor Mike Duggan (Photo: City of Detroit)

Duggan will invite comments on priorities. Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallett lists these general areas of focus, according to the Free Press:

  • Fighting intergenerational poverty through eductaion, job training, business startup help
  • Investing in neighborhoods
  • Parks, recreation and cultural assets
  • Public safety
  • Closing the digital gap
  • Supporting small businesses

"After the mayor's presentation, which will cover several potential spending areas, attendees will be able to offer comments and vote on ideas presented during the meeting," a news release says.

His office also will host a blitz of 25 community meetings in the next month. "We're going to ... ask: 'Mrs. Jones' what do you think?" Mallett tells Fox 2 News. "Is the framework correct, do you think we should spend this amount of money on this kind of programming? Can you think of better ways to concentrate our resources?"

The mayor's handout adds:

A schedule of meetings, which will be open to any resident, will be posted early next week on the city's website and will be updated as meetings are added. Meeting notices also will be distributed through city email subscription lists, the Department of Neighborhoods and on city social media accounts.

Then Duggan will recommend spending specifics to the City Council for approval. Members also will vote on any proposed contracts. The council wants Duggan to create a task force to help shape spending recommendations.

At Bridge Detroit, Louis Aguilar provides this background and context for the huge amount coming to Detroit:

Parts of the American Rescue Plan have already been delivered. That includes the $1,400 checks sent to millions of Americans so far and unemployment benefits being extended until September. There’s also the $28.6 billion in relief grants for restaurants and, coming this summer, monthly payments to support the cost of raising children.

Detroit’s $880 million is one of the biggest shares of funding intended for the local budget of any U.S. city, according to the bill. Only four other cities — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia — received larger amounts.

To put the $880 million into context, in 2013, Detroit received $300 million in federal and private aid during the Obama administration when the City filed for bankruptcy. ...

Since March 2020, the City estimates it has lost more than $410 million in tax revenue due to the pandemic, resulting in widespread cuts in services and employee layoffs. To cover the sudden funding deficit, the City used nearly $300 million in rainy-day funding and other money originally planned for such things as blight remediation and capital improvement funds.

Join tonight's meeting: Zoom link | Meeting ID: 827 5298 2663

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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