Flint Mayor Dayne Walling made an appearance on CNN Thursday morning.
During American Morning, anchor Carol Costello talked about mayors across the nation being forced to make painful budget cuts. Mayor Walling and Trenton, New Jersey Mayor Tony Mack commented on the cuts their cities have been forced to endure to balance the budget.
Costello reported, In Flint, Michigan, one of the highest crime areas in the country, has been forced to cut 30% of the police force, and they TMre privatizing city services.
Costello asked Mayor Walling if he thought it was possible for the federal government to balance their budget, just as city mayors are forced to do. Walling replied, There has to be fiscal responsibility in Washington, but I don TMt believe now TMs the time to have a debate about a specific balanced budget amendment. We need our federal government to have the flexibility it needs to help states and help cities. The constraints that we work under at the city level are very extreme, and I wouldn TMt want to see those imposed on the federal government. The federal government needs to take a long term view.
The City of Flint laid off a large number of police officer, and then attempted to raise the taxes in order to help fight crime. Costello asked Mayor Walling what happened in the case. He stated that voters were split on reopening the city jail in May, and so the city is continuously looking at other cuts leaders could make to non essentials.
The cuts, which Mayor Walling referred to during the CNN interview, have stirred much controversy in the City of Flint. In 2010, Tell Walling No banners popped up across the city, as the Flint Police attempted to fight the cuts. However, budget deals couldn TMt be reached, and the deep slashes to the force were made.
After the layoffs, emergency financial meetings were held to discuss what the city would do with so few public safety enforcers, Mayor Dayne Walling received alleged threats, and the fires blazed through vacant buildings.
Since then, community members have attempted to rally to fight the ever growing crime rate. The Blue Badge Patrol was created, in an effort to give citizens the knowledge they TMd need to detect and report crime in their neighborhoods.
While morale seemed low for Mayor Dayne walling in March of 2010, his comeback has become apparent. He received the highest number of votes in the August 2, 2011 Flint mayoral primary race.
While Flint continues to battle the major budget woes that impacted how they battle crime, they TMre not alone in the fight. Trenton, NJ has also been forced to painfully downsize their law enforcement. However, they took a slightly different approach than Flint. Instead of laying off police and firefighters, they imposed a tax. However, after a year of observing the budget, they TMre still going to have to lay off 108 members of the police department. Mayor Mack stated they reviewed all the cuts they could make, and it became prevalent the layoffs needed to come from the police force. The last area we had to cut where we can get the best impact, or the best bang for our cut was our police services. They make up over 70% of our salary line item| Mack stated.
In the meantime, we want to know how you would have answered these two questions, which were posed to Mayor Dayne Walling.