Good news for Detroit… But it might not be good enough!
via NY Post reports:
The federal fingerprint in efforts to fix Detroit is growing larger as the Obama administration has found millions of dollars in grant money to help the bankrupt city hire more police and firefighters, and clear out blighted neighborhoods.
The federal money being directed Detroit’s way by the U.S. government totals more than $100 million and will be augmented with about $200 million more in resources from foundations and Detroit businesses, but it falls far short of the wider bailout some in the city had sought.
Gene Sperling, chief economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said the administration scrounged through the federal budget and found untapped money that “either had not flowed or had not gotten out or not directed to the top priorities for Detroit.”
Sperling and three other top Obama aides — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan — will meet with state and local officials Friday.
The Obama administration repeatedly had signaled it would not offer a massive federal bailout like the one credited with helping rescue Chrysler and General Motors.
“There is not going to be a bailout,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Carl Levin told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “We have enough problems with the federal deficit. We need to be creative and look at existing programs. There are still some funds there.”
The funding announced by Sperling will include $65 million in Community Development Block Grants for blight eradication, $25 million in a public-private collaboration for commercial building demolition and nearly $11 million in funds to ensure working families can live in safe neighborhoods.
Holder will announce $3 million that, in part, will be used to hire new police officers. About $25 million also will be expedited to Detroit to hire about 140 firefighters and buy new gear.
In addition, Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager, has told the city’s two municipal retirement systems he wants to freeze Detroit’s pension plans and move to a 401(k)-style system.
The gathering Friday follows a series of meetings with the White House to plot ways to pull Detroit from a fiscal pit that this summer made it the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection.
Detroit has had a poor record in making sure grant money is used properly and even spent at all.
In 2011, Mayor Dave Bing fired the director of the city’s Human Services Department after an internal investigation revealed $200,000 intended for poor residents was spent on office furniture for staff members.
The following year, his office had to scramble to use about $20 million in grants that had been left sitting for demolitions of thousands of vacant houses. The city’s Police Department also allowed a $400,000 grant to lapse for a new armored vehicle.
We hope this helps a little at least!