Furloughs in Detroit's near future

Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:32 PM

DETROIT, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said Wednesday he will begin furloughing city workers in January to deal with a projected $30 million revenue shortfall.

"Due to the failure to meet the first milestone in our agreement with the state -- and with the second milestone now at risk -- I have directed my administration to begin planning to offset an anticipated $30 million cash shortfall," Bing said in a statement posted on the city's website.

"In order to compensate for the deficit, the city will begin to institute unpaid furloughs and other cost-saving actions, effective Jan. 1.

"We will ensure that revenue-generating departments are not impacted by these cost-cutting measures. Most importantly, I want our citizens to know that public safety will not be jeopardized.

"Again, these actions are necessary to keep the city from falling into further financial distress."

The Detroit Free Press reported the mayor's action was precipitated by the City Council's 8-1 vote Tuesday not to approve a $300,000 contract with a law firm required before the state would release proceeds from a bond sale.

The newspaper said thousands of city workers will likely face unpaid time off. Exactly how long remained uncertain.

"I wish I knew what was going on on the 13th floor," Bing told reporters at news conference. "I'm interested in one thing, and that is to make sure out city is fiscally stable. That's my focus now, and I'm not going to get away from that."

Detroit's WXYZ-TV reported Bing vowed the city won't miss its debt payments.

"Bankruptcy is not an option," Bing said. "We are not dealing with bankruptcy whatsoever."

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