Return to #TeamGSR's Building Power Training Series: City Budget 101
Live reporting by Alex Klaus
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District 6 Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero explains the city's budget process, and highlights spending priorities for her district. The mayor will present the proposed FY'2025 budget to City Council on March 7. Public budget hearings begin March 11.

Alex 🌈⭐️ @mostlikelyalex
Good evening! Today at 6 pm I’ll be live-tweeting the Building Power Training Series: City Budget 101 for #DETdocumenters. @DetDocumenters media partners: @BridgeDet313 @chalkbeatDET @freep @metrotimes @Michigan_public @media_outlier @PlanetDetroit @wdet @wxyzdetroit

04:21 PM Feb 7, 2024 CST

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You can find documenters coverage for this meeting here:…
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The website indicates that you need to register beforehand—do that here:…
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This isn’t the first building power training that @gabysantiromero has held. Here are a couple past trainings:
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Another city budget 101 meeting!
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I’m personally excited to learn some skills on understanding city budgets as they can be confusing!
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See you at 6 ☺️
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I’m here attending the meeting in person! There are papers for note taking and different resource sheets for attendants.
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We’re getting started now at 6:10–there was a delay because in person attendants are getting some complimentary dinner!
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Today’s agenda!
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The fiscal year budget runs from July 1st to June 30th each year. She’s explaining terms like revenue meaning the amount of income they receive.
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Another speaker is about to explain the different aspects that make up the city’s revenue. The reason why taxes are so high compared to others is because it includes all the different types of taxes—including property taxes, income taxes, etc.
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She mentions that because there is so much the city manages, it helps to have cheat sheets to explain all the different aspects of revenue.
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The general fund mainly consists of tax money. This slide shows the different taxes that contribute to the general fund, including income tax which appears to be the highest contributor.
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We’re looking at BSEED as an example. She’s showing what each of the columns mean. The city has a forecasted budget 4 years in advance which is why you see forecasted budgets from 2025-2027.
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These department profiles explain different departments, their budgets, and the purposes they serve.
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And here are some budget summaries of other departments/allocations, including the Charles H. Wright Museum. I personally never knew the city allocated money to the museum from their budget.
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She’s emphasizing that budgets are an indication of the city’s priorities. Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) gets the most allocations, with Detroit Police Department (DPD) following. The Planning and Development Department (PDD) receives the least amount on this graph.
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The mayor will propose the next fiscal year budget on March 7th, and then budget hearings for the variety of different departments will begin. The approved budget needs to be submitted for financial review by April 30th.
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Now she’s showing us an example of what a public hearing looks like using a past recording of a city council budget hearing
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Now she’s showing an example of a Q & A session where council members will ask questions about the budget to clarify aspects of the budget, for accountability purposes, and to see how they can be of support.
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The example was from OCFO (Office of the Chief Financial Officer) by the way.
Now she’s talking about the public comment process where residents can express their opinions about the proposed budget. She’s showing us an example of a good public comment.
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Here are the different ways you can participate in the budget creation process. The slide shows the website where you can access the budget (), and the ways you can participate—in person, online, or by phone.
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Now she’s sharing the different wins they made in 2023, including an additional $400k to BSEED to improve public health of residents.
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And here are some of the goals for this year—including funding for streetscape projects in Southwest Detroit for road diets to keep trucks from constantly driving through the neighborhood.
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This has been something Southwest residents have been wanting for a while now. Context: .”…
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Now she’s sharing ways you can advocate for budget funding. She encourages people to join public comment at the budget hearings, organize petitions, send letters to council members, and writing op-eds to local newspapers or using social media as an outlet.
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Now she wants to hear about what attendants want to see in next year’s budget.
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One resident wants to see more streetlights in his neighborhood. He says the current policy of only having 2 lights on a block isn’t enough to help people feel safe.
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A virtual attendant wants to know about funding for the Basement Backup Protection Program in the 48209. They experience a lot of flooding on Livernois.
She said that the current amount of money allocated can’t be changed, it’s a set amount of money.
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Another attendant wonders if there’s budget $ for youth development programs. They want to know if there’s a specific line item request for funding for this.
She suggests the Grow Detroit Young Talent program. She says there isn’t a request for more funding at this time.
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Now she’s giving public comment tips. She stresses that there is only 1 minute per person to comment at the budget hearings so use it wisely.
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A resident mentions concerns about no speed limit signs on his block on McGraw. He said people speed faster than they should, possibly because there are no speed limits signs. He also suggests speed bumps.
He’s also talking about hefty property taxes.
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One commenter is asking if the city has considered a Participatory Budgeting approach. Santiago-Romero says she has suggested it and now that she sees interest, hopes to propose it again.
Here’s the definition of Participatory Budgeting:
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Here are ways the community can engage with her team:
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Mr Corely (the person who spoke on different aspects of the general fund earlier) is giving his final thoughts on the budget. (1 of
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He says council cant change revenues, they are set by the February Estimated Revenue Conference and their board, compromising of the treasurer, CFO, and someone from U of M (I didn’t hear a specific name or title)
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We’re wrapping up the meeting at 7:09 pm!
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If you believe anything in the coverage today is inaccurate, please email us at with "Correction Request" in the subject line.
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For more coverage, please visit
There is a training coming up on February 17th at 11 am, please consider attending if you’d like to become a documenter!