Duggan Proposes $250 Million Bond Issue To Rid Detroit Of Blight By 2025

The mayor says the deal would not raise taxes for Detroiters.

WWJ News
September 16, 2019 - 10:00 pm
mike duggan

(photo: WWJ/Roberta Jasina)

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DETROIT (WWJ) -- Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is proposing to go to the voters for a $250 million plan that he says would eliminate every vacant home in the city within five years.

Duggan is asking the Detroit City Council to approve the $250 million bond issue, which he claims will not cost city residents any additional tax money, to get on the March 10 ballot in order to wipe out all blight in the city by mid-2025.

The announcement, made at a press conference Monday afternoon in the Mapleridge neighborhood, comes as the city is about to run out of $265 million in federal money that was to be used for removing blighted homes across the city. With no more money from the federal government or the state, Duggan says it's time for the city to finish the job itself.

"And the good news is, that the city’s finances are so strong and out credit rating has improved to the point that we can sell this bond issue with no increase in taxes," he said.

The mayor called it the "halfway point" in the quest to wipe Detroit of blight, with about 27,000 vacant homes still remaining -- roughly 19,000 of which will be razed, while 7,000 or 8,000 will undergo rehab projects. Duggan first spoke about the concept back in March at the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. At the time, he said he expected to ask the city council this fall to approve a $200 million deal and hoped to be done razing homes by the end of 2024.

“With this plan, we are going to be able to use the money for renovation as well as demolition," Duggan said. And I think there’ll be about 1,000 houses where we can put a subsidy in that will probably move it from demolition to rehab. We think we’ve got another 7,000 that’ll get renovated anyway.”

Duggan says Detroit firms would carry out the work, something he couldn’t do with federal money.

Detroit City Council would have to approve the bonds by December to get the proposal on the ballot in March, when Michigan holds its presidential primary election.