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Heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition

Facing Detroit Budget Deficit, Duggan Taps Blight Removal Fund

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The city of Detroit is facing a $350 million budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is losing roughly $600,000 per day in lost casino revenue.

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Detroit officials said the city is dealing with a nearly $350 million budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is losing roughly $600,000 per day in lost casino revenue.

Nobody ever dreamed of a pandemic shutting down the casinos.” — Mayor Mike Duggan

Income generated by slots and table games is typically among the most consistent, because even in an economic downturn people still tend to gamble. Mayor Mike Duggan said that fact was recognized during the city’s most recent credit rating adjustment.

We basically said this is the most recession proof revenue source of any city in the country, and the Wall Street analysts all agreed with that,” Duggan said. “Now, nobody ever dreamed of a pandemic shutting down the casinos.”

Duggan said some of the city’s planned projects will have to be scaled back to help balance the books.

The biggest issue was we had $100 million budgeted for demolitions. And we’re just basically gonna have to cancel the blight removal,” Duggan said.

Duggan said it’s too soon to tell how long the downturn will last, but warns it could get worse before the 2022 fiscal year.

Money from the city’s demolition budget will be redirected to support Detroit’s police and fire departments. 

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Alex McLenon, Associate Producer

Alex McLenon is an Associate Producer with 101.9 WDET. McLenon has many interests; from cars and sports to arts and science. During college he amassed four years of experience as a Zamboni driver and acknowledges spending far too much money on his CD collection.

Follow @alexmclenon

This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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