We all know that Detroit has a bit of a money problem. Critics blame the Motor City’s woes on decades of poor fiscal management. If that’s true, then how bad at money have the city’s purse-keepers been?
Pretty bad. Bad enough to lose a $1,000,000 check.
In February of this year, the city of Detroit received the check from the school district, but waited over a month to cash it because someone left it in a desk drawer.
The missing Detroit check is just one of many instances of fiscal irresponsibility in a Bloomberg report on the city’s financial woes. Things really started to get bad earlier this year, and Bloomberg implies that poor management only intensified toward the end.
But city officials say that poor infrastructure (broken street lights, outdated technology, etc.) is to blame for their financial problems. Because of this, they’re unable to do basic things like bill collecting.
“Nobody sends million-dollar checks anymore — they wire the money,” said a spokesman of Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager.
“We have financial systems that are three, four, five decades in the past,” he said. “If we can fix those issues, then we’ll be able to provide services better, faster, more efficiently and cheaper.”
But even Detroit’s residents are wondering where all their tax dollars are going. Detroit resident Latisha Lee lives near the city’s historic Eight Mile, pays $4,200 in property taxes for her 1,100 square-foot apartment. “For the amount of money we pay in taxes, we should have better city services,” she said.
But municipal operations consultant Gary Brown said that the city is already making adjustments its citizens will see, like curbing public employee absenteeism and implementing performance evaluations.
“We’re fixing a lot of things people don’t see that will absolutely affect the things they do see,” he said.
Do you think that Detroit will be able to solve its financial problems? I suppose the fed could bail them out, but now we can’t guarantee that they won’t just throw the check in a desk drawer and forget about it.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]