Flint budget good for now, future may be bleak - WNEM TV 5

Flint budget good for now, future may be bleak

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

The city of Flint is tackling their own budget, but the emergency financial manager thinks they're in good shape for next year.

Nothing much will change financially for the city of Flint when the new fiscal year begins in July, and that is something that officials are happy about.

The budget of fiscal year 2014, released Monday by Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz, doesn't call for a single cut to police and fire staffing. But looking past 2014, the news from Kurtz and State Finance Director Jerry Ambrose was a bit grim.

"We're looking at a deficit of about $9 million in fiscal 2015; $6.8 million of that is coming from a loss of grant revenue," said Ambrose.

For instance, the federal safer grant, which funds firefighters positions, is set to expire in 2015. If it's not renewed, Ambrose says, "The staffing at our fire department decrease from 94 to about 75. We will probably be looking at closing two of the five stations."

On top of that, Flint will face at least a $3-million structural deficit in each of the next four years.

Ed Kurtz says the city must find a new source of revenue to handle that structural deficit.

Kurtz says, "If we raise the income tax in the city a half a percent, in the county a quarter of a percent, that would raise a little over $7 million a year."

In the near future, Flint is still facing a $19-million budget deficit.

Kurtz says they have a two-pronged plan to deal with that deficit in the next year. They plan to ask the department of treasury for a $12-million loan.

Officials plan to include debt reduction dollars in future budgets to make up that remaining $7 million.

Kurtz says bankruptcy would have been too expensive and time-consuming to fix Flint's future financial problems.

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