Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can We Compromise on Mayor Bing's Tax Proposal?

Mayor Dave Bing and the Detroit Police Commission proposed raising our property taxes in an effort to generate more money for the Detroit Police and Fire Departments. The Bing Administration argues that it is absolutely essential given the current budget condition.

Many critics, however - and this includes some on the City Council - believe that the Mayor hasn't done enough to manage his current budget effectively. Recent new reports of the Police Department wasting $4 million on expired car leases only reinforce that contention.

With that in mind, I'd like to propose a compromise. Mayor Bing can have his tax increase. I'll pay it. In return, I believe certain conditions should be written into this increase.

In return for the additional tax revenue, the Detroit Police Department should be required to:

  • Eliminate the rank of deputy chief. Anyone who currently holds it should have a choice between retirement or reduction in rank and a return to patrol duty.
  • Reduce the number of assistant chiefs to no more than four. The Police Commission can determine the exact areas of responsibility for each of them.
  • Reduce the number of aides and secretaries the chief and assistant chiefs have. This is one of the most persistently bloated parts of DPD's budget. Each assistant chief should one civilian secretary and one sworn officer as an aide. The chief of police should only get one civilian secretary and two aides.
  • All police officers hired with this new tax revenue must be assigned to either patrol, investigative, or special operations duty. In other words, every one of them should be in the field in one capacity or another. We really don't need more police officers doing desk jobs.
As for the Detroit Fire Department, they should be required to phase out the rank of sergeant. Anyone who currently holds it should be allowed to hold onto it, but no one else should be promoted into it.

By doing this, Mayor Bing gets the extra tax revenue that he wants. In return, Detroiters will get progress towards improving our public safety.

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