City Council votes down $250M bond sale to wipe out blight

November 19, 2019 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to ask voters to approve the sale of up to $250 million in bonds to eradicate residential blight.

Councilmembers voted 6-3 Tuesday against the plan.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office wanted the initiative on the March 2020 ballot with bond funding available next year. It then would take five years to remove residential blight. The bonds would be repaid over the next 30 years using existing tax revenue.

Several hundred city residents attended a public hearing Monday on the proposal.

A report by Detroit’s auditor general has cited unreliable data, documentation issues and other problems with the city’s demolition work.

Detroit’s blight removal efforts have been funded primarily by $265 million in federal funding. About 19,000 vacant houses have been demolished since 2014.