Communities working to thrive during financial hardships - WNEM TV 5

Communities working to thrive during financial hardships

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Mott Community College hosted a panel Tuesday night to discuss the economics of towns and villages across the state.

The panel was called "save our cities" and it addressed the financial challenges facing municipalities and possible solutions to their problems.

"Because of the system of how we fund local units from the state, we basically have no money to do those things. There's still money out there going in different places, it's just not a priority anymore to fund local government because of the state system," said Dan Gilmarten, CEO of Michigan Municipal League.

He said for the past 70 years the state and its cities have shared revenue, with the state collecting taxes and passing money down to the local level. Gilmarten said in recent years the state started keeping more money to cover state budget shortfalls.

"We've gotta figure out a way to get that money down to the base level. Get that money for police, fire, for roads, for parks, senior services, things happening in communities," Gilmarten said.

Congressman Dan Kildee said the fix is a change in state policy that would give cities more power to handle their budgets.

"It's the loss of state revenue, which is a huge amount of money. Flint has lost $62 million since they began decreasing state revenue. That's the difference between Flint being solvent or insolvent," Kildee said.

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