The City of Detroit is hosting its annual public budget meeting on Thursday. The goal of the charter-mandated meeting is to open up a dialogue with residents about how the city might spend its money in the next fiscal year.
The operating budget determines how the city spends money generated from taxes, fees, sales, grants and more. It pays for big-ticket items like public safety, says Steve Watson, the city’s budget director.
“It also funds all of the new investments that we see in the neighborhoods across the city, whether it be building up and maintaining our city parks, paving roads, or adding speed humps. It’s a lot of the stuff that you hear about all throughout the year when they’re being done, but really, it all starts with the budget.”
“[The budget] also funds all of the new investments that we see in the neighborhoods across the city, whether it be building up and maintaining our city parks, paving roads, or adding speed humps.” –Steve Watson, City of Detroit
He says the city is continuing to see income tax losses from people working remotely during the pandemic but some of it has been offset.
“Thankfully, we did see some replacement of those revenue losses with the launch of internet gaming in the State of Michigan and including at the Detroit casinos. But really all that really did was fill the hole from COVID.”
Watson says the American Rescue Fund money that Detroit received has already been appropriated and will not be incorporated into the next budget.
Thursday’s meeting will be live-streamed on the City of Detroit’s Facebook page and on Zoom here. It’s the first step of public engagement in the budget development process. The city will host budget forums with residents in each council district in January. The mayor will present a proposed budget in March, then City Council budget hearings take place in March and April. The budget for the next fiscal year takes effect on July 1.