There were both bright spots and harsh realities in Flint Mayor Dayne Walling TMs first State of the City Address, called A Season of Change. The mayor praised developments in each of the city TMs nine wards, and said Flint was on track to create about 8,000 jobs in 10 years in areas related to health care, green technology and advanced manufacturing.
That is where much of the good news ended.
Walling quickly turned to the near $8 million deficit and the $2.7 million cut in state revenue sharing, calling for sweeping cuts and sacrifices from city workers. He said time is not on the city TMs side with four months until the next fiscal year begins.
Walling said health care costs alone have continued to purge the city TMs general fund.
"Since 2005, the cost of health care for active employees in the city has gone from $7 million to $10 million this year, he said. That increase of $3 million dollars represents almost 5 percent of the general fund and the total cost of over 40 employees, Walling added.
He is calling for an increase in health care contributions to 20 percent, saving roughly $1 million annually. The changes would affect employees, as well as elected and appointed officials. Walling called on the public safety unions to adopt the change in their negotiations as well.
Speaking of public safety, Walling also called for a reduction in total compensation packages for police officers from the average of $100,000 down to $85,000. This includes salary, benefits and overtime. Walling is still looking for 15 percent in concessions from the unions with 1 week left until massive police and fire department layoffs take affect.
Chief Alvern Lock said he is prepared to do more with less.
"Losing 50 officers, I'm going to do things- they are going to have to do things differently but we'll still be here. We will still provide the services."