Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown called a meeting of the Flint City Council Monday night, just over two months after temporarily disbanding the council in one of his first acts. The council had no official business to attend to and no votes were taken. Instead, Brown used the meeting as an opportunity to give members a progress report, set his agenda for the coming weeks, and give the public a chance to speak.
Brown said that since taking over the city has shaved $600 thousand dollars from its 2012 budget, with additional savings from cuts expected down the line, including a potential $1 million dollar savings on retirement benefits. He outlined what he calls his "45 day plan", setting goals for the city to address a series of infrastructure, financial and law enforcement issues in the next 45 days.
Brown hit an optimistic tone during the meeting, but told NBC25 the trouble is far from over. "We're a long way from solvency in this city, and there's a lot of pain ahead of us," said Brown.
One of the other issues brought up by members of the council was Flint's ongoing water debate. Brown says an audit of the city's water situation will be completed in the next 30 days. He also says the city will "find the resources" to re-open the city lockup, but not immediately.
Brown spoke at length about grants he is working to secure to help the city close its budget hole, both federal and state, but he seems to have his eye on a large portion of the $400 million dollar expected state surplus. Brown says once the the imbalance between spending and revenue is stabilized the city can work on things like the lockup, restoring blight elimination programs, and securing additional federal funds for ongoing demolition of abandoned homes. He says his goal is to get done and get out as soon as possible.
"My job is to get this back in your hands as quickly as possible," said Brown.