Dearborn Heights City Council passes budget, avoids government shutdown

In the nick of time, the Dearborn Heights City Council averted a potentially crippling government shutdown by approving a budget with a 5-2 vote Friday night.

If the city council had not approved a budget, they would have missed the state-mandated deadline of July 1, leading to a shutdown of city services —including trash pickup, youth and senior programs, the city's website and cable TV channel, among others— and the cessation of compensation and benefits for all city employees.

"For any rumor that this council, this body, did not want to pass the budget – that is a complete lie," Council Chairman Mo Baydoun said. "We want to continue to support our police, we want to continue to support our firefighters, we want to continue to support our senior services."

Police, fire, public works would have also been greatly impacted by the shutdown.

But to stop it, city council members went through the numbers line item by line item, even correcting dollar amounts for salaries of police officers and other city officials. All while frustrated residents accused city leaders of being completely dysfunctional.

"You all hold weight. Use your voices, work together and don’t let this happen again please!" one concerned Dearborn Heights resident said during the special council meeting.

So how did this happen in the first place? City officials say the budget process is supposed to start in April, but the council and Mayor Bill Bazzi disagree on a lot of particulars.

"The Mayor and his staff did not give us this information until today," Baydoun said. Today, we received the information that we asked for in April."

However, the mayor fired back.

"You can FOIA the email," Bazzi told FOX 2. "We sent the email to the Council on April 1.

Regardless, the crisis has been averted.

City Hall will continue to work, but Bazzi says his job is a little bit harder now with a handful of clerical and support jobs on the chopping block – for example, like the job of crime analyst.

"That’s what their job is, to go through where some of the crimes are going, and this is some of the areas they attack to make sure that the crime rate goes down," Bazzi said. "So by eliminating that position, that’s a risk for the residents."

Some council members still want the city to trim about $750,000 by mid-July. The process is ongoing.


Dearborn Heights prepares for shutdown as mayor, City Council fight over budget

If the Dearborn Heights City Council doesn’t approve a budget by June 30, all city services could shut down July 1, according to Mayor Bill Bazzi.