DETROIT - How should Detroit spend $426 million?
That's the question the city is asking its residents to weigh in on as it considers the best ways to flex its new surplus following the passage of a massive relief package in Congress.
Out of that came $826 million, the fifth most any city in the U.S. received from the American Rescue Plan act, which was pushed into law earlier this year. Half of that arrived last May and the next half will arrive in May 2022.
Throughout the month of June, the city is hosting community meetings that ask for input from residents.
About half of the expected money will go toward fixing budget problems inflicted on the city of Detroit by the pandemic which will be used to protect against layoffs and an expected 25% loss in income and property taxes.
Which means $426 million will need to be spent by 2024. The city already has money it wants to use for COVID-19 funding, affordable housing and eviction prevention, water affordability, lead-line replacement, and transportation.
How can Detroit spend its extra money?
The federal government offered a few guidelines for how the money can be spent and how it can't be spent.
Some ways it can be spent include:
- Addressing the negative impacts of COVID-19 that hurt households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries
- Creating a more equitable economy
- Target systematic challenges that low-income and minority communities face
Some ways it can't be spent include:
- Pension Fund payments
- Paying off debt
- Paying past legal obligations
The city's proposal
The money - which is classified as the Detroit Future Fund - could go to a plethora of needs.
One of the cities proposals recommends dividing the money into six categories: poverty, neighborhoods, parks and culture facilities, public safety, digital divide, small business assistance.
For example, under the proposal, $100 million would be dedicated to rooting out poverty, which would include:
- $30 million for expanding community health corps
- $40 million for paying for skills training and school
- $15 million for employing people involved in criminal activity
- $5 million for seniors to mentor youth
- $7 million for creating a locator to find affordable housing
- $3 million for foreclosure prevention
Another $100 million would go toward rebuilding the city's neighborhoods, which would break down into:
- $10 million for neighborhood block grants to improve vacant land
- $20 million for home repairs where seniors and low-income families live
- $30 million for cleaning out blighted vacant properties
- $15 million for assisting with down payments on homes
- $20 million for improving commercial districts
- $3 million for restoring alleyways
- $2 million for refurbishing neighborhood signs
When to offer input
Several neighborhood meetings have already happened, with District 1 hosting one on May 27.
The following meetings are still scheduled to happen. The remaining districts will meet:
- District 6 will meet June 17 from 4 to 5 p.m.
- District 3-4 will meet June 22 from 5 to 6 p.m.
- District 7 will meet June 22 from 5 to 6 p.m.
There are also community meetings scheduled:
- June 17 Mohican Regent Neighborhood Association LaSalle Beautiful Association
- Mohican Regent Neighborhood Association
- LaSalle Beautiful Association
- June 18San Bernardo Park Association
- San Bernardo Park Association
- June 19 Bagley Community Council Binder Street O&R Esper St. Block Club Alter Road 48215 Block Club Northwest Community Block Club DeSoto
- Bagley Community Council
- Binder Street O&R
- Esper St. Block Club
- Alter Road 48215 Block Club
- Northwest Community Block Club
- June 21Vaughn Street Block
- Vaughn Street Block
- June 22 Vanguard CDC Eden Gardens
- Vanguard CDC
- Eden Gardens
- June 24 Chandler Park Neighbors & Partners Association We care about Van Dyke/7 Mile Riverbend
- Chandler Park Neighbors & Partners Association
- We care about Van Dyke/7 Mile
- June 26New Beginnings Church
- New Beginnings Church
- June 27Woodward Villages Association
- Woodward Villages Association
Learn more about dates and times here.
A breakdown of the city's proposal can be found here.