DBusiness Daily Update: Duggan: Detroit City Budget Returns to Pre-pandemic Level, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
With the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic mostly in the rearview mirror, Mayor Mike Duggan says it’s time to again invest in the city’s neighborhoods. // Stock Photo
With the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic mostly in the rearview mirror, Mayor Mike Duggan says it’s time to again invest in the city’s neighborhoods. // Stock Photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Duggan: Detroit City Budget Returns to Pre-pandemic Level

The city of Detroit’s budget has returned to its pre-pandemic level says Mayor Mike Duggan as he presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and FY23-26 Four-Year Plan to City Council. City officials say revenue recovery has put Detroit back on track allowing the city to restore the pre-pandemic status quo budget and make important investments in key areas.

In April 2020, the mayor outlined nearly $350 million in pandemic-related budget cuts to maintain a balanced budget without laying off any full-time city employees.  Just two years later, the city has seen revenue growth beyond initial projections.

“I’m extremely proud of the work of our chief financial officer and our department heads to have the discipline to still provide vital services within our available budget during the challenging past two years,” Duggan says. “Their efforts have kept the city out of state financial oversight while making sure residents still could rely on city government during this pandemic. Now, we are in a position to again invest in our employees, retirees, and neighborhoods.”

The proposed budget totals more than $2 billion, including over $1 billion for the General Fund, and makes targeted new investments to deliver opportunity, safety, and beauty for Detroiters, ensure fiscal stability, and keep our promise to our retirees. Budget highlights include:

  • $90 million for the Retiree Protection Fund ($5 million recurring increase, $30 million one-time), brings total balance to $460 million for annual pension contributions that resume in FY2024.
  • $30.7 million deposit into the Rainy-Day Fund, for a total balance of $138 million, plus $20 million in additional deposits planned after FY2023 to maintain reserve rate.
  • $72.3 million in General Fund support for DDOT transit service and the People Mover, $5.8 million increase, on top of $26.5 million restoration, to improve Paratransit Service and Vehicle Operations.
  • $17.5 million for blight remediation and beautification programs.
  • $10.7 million for parks and recreation Improvements.
  • $10.4 million per year for public safety, parks, and general vehicle replacements.
  • $2.7 million extra for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
  • $1.5 million extra for the Detroit Historical Museum.
  • $2.3 million for Coleman A. Young International Airport Improvements, plus $1 million increase in operations to implement the Airport Layout Plan.

“Recurring city revenues are forecasted to reach pre-pandemic levels due to stronger income tax collections and the implementation of internet gaming and sports betting last year,” says Jay Rising, CFO for the city. “However, risks remain to the four-Year financial plan from continued remote work, lingering pandemic effects, and legacy pension liabilities. This fiscally responsible proposed budget manages these risks with contributions to reserves and spending restraint.”

City Council will conduct public budget hearings for departments starting March 14.

To view the mayor’s proposed budget, visit here.

Program Boosts Availability of Small Business Services in Oakland County

Oakland County has launched a program that will help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and thrive, according to County Executive Dave Coulter.

The Business Forward program will engage the county’s more than 36,000 small businesses with expertise and resources in the communities where they are located.

“The Business Forward program has already started working in communities throughout Oakland County making it easier for entrepreneurs to run successful small businesses,” Coulter says. “They will be bringing their expertise and resources directly to the thousands of small businesses that call Oakland County home.”

The county will place nine Business Forward consultants in communities throughout the county to give all small businesses the opportunity to succeed, with a focus on minority-, woman-, and veteran-owned businesses. The consultants have a variety of expertise such as childcare, food service, marketing, manufacturing, retail, and more. They will link business owners with services they may not be aware of such as the availability of government grants and training opportunities.

Business Forward is designed to improve accessibility to the county’s small business services for business owners and entrepreneurs with a goal of assisting 4,000 businesses a year – a 10-fold increase from previous years. Before, business owners from across the county had to travel to Waterford to access Oakland County’s small business services.

Business Forward consultants will deliver these services locally in cooperation with community-based organizations such as downtown development authorities, chambers of commerce, business organizations, and local economic development professionals.

There will be Business Forward kick-off meetings in various communities including:

  • Pontiac — April 2 at the Pontiac Economic Summit
  • Oak Park — April 5, 4-6 p.m. at The Dog and Pony Show Brewery (14661 W. 11 Mile Road., Ste. 200)
  • Lathrup Village — April 7, 4-6 p.m. at the Community House (27400 Southfield Road.)
  • Farmington/Farmington Hills — April 12, 4-6 p.m. at The Hawk (29995 W. 12 Mile Road)
  • Highland Township — April 13, 4-6 p.m. at The Steeple Hall (205 W. Livingston Road)
  • Southfield — April 21, 4-6 p.m. at the Centrepolis Accelerator (21315 Civic Center Dr., Ste. 100)

For more information, visit here.

M1 Concourse Launches New Website with Tickets Available for 2022 Events

M1 Concourse in Pontiac unveiled a new website, m1concourse.com, where visitors can find out about “all things automotive” on the 87-acre Oakland County campus.

The new site contains information for those looking to rent the new M1 Event Center, attend an auto enthusiast event, and experience the 1.5-mile, 11-turn Champion Motor Speedway through various driving programs. Information about becoming a member of the private garage community and private Motorsports Club also is available.

Tickets are on sale on the site for M1’s second annual Woodward Dream Show (Aug. 19) and American Speed Festival (Sept. 29-Oct. 2), both of which had separate websites a year ago. The new site also has details about the free monthly Cars and Coffee events that draw thousands of proud vehicle owners from around metro Detroit.

Visitors to the site also can purchase M1 merchandise, including hats, shirts, and watches, and explore ways to get involved with M1 as a sponsor or volunteer ambassador.

Local Businesses, Nonprofits Team to Help Ukrainians in Need

Stronger Warrior Foundation, a Milford-based nonprofit; Sunflower Sunrise Co., a New Baltimore-based and Ukrainian-American owned apparel company; and the HUB Stadium of Auburn Hills are teaming up to host a Humanitarian Aid event Saturday for victims of the Russian War against Ukraine of 2022.

Cash and item donations will be accepted between 1-5 p.m. at HUB Stadium of Auburn Hills. Online donations also are being accepted here. The groups hope to raise at lease $20,000.

The organizations will be working together to run a donation drive and fundraiser for high priority items at the HUB Stadium of Auburn Hills on March 12, 2022 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm. Anyone who makes a donation of any level will have access to Football Bowling and a TopGolf Swing Suite Simulator, and one-hour Football Bowling vouchers for future use will be given out for all donations more than $100.

Sunflower Sunrise Co will have Ukrainian themed apparel available for purchase at the event and online, with partial profits donated to the fundraiser. All proceeds collected will go toward the purchasing of medical supplies and tactical equipment. Every donor will receive a donation receipt for tax purposes, and all participants will receive updates on the impact of the event.

“In response to the current situation in Ukraine, the Stronger Warrior Foundation has launched this special initiative to send aid and relief to those on the ground in Ukraine that need it most,” says Bryan Abell, co-executive director of Stronger Warrior Foundation. “We launched this initiative because SWF believes that every human-being deserves the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — whether they are American or not.”

Historic Michigan Lighthouses Awarded $100K in Preservation Grants

Two historic Michigan lighthouses will make progress on long-term preservation efforts with the help of $100,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.

“Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, and these beacons stand tall as icons of our shoreline communities,” says Mark A. Rodman, historic preservation officer for the state. “As a result of enduring decades of harsh weather, our lighthouses require constant maintenance and attention. Our lighthouse preservation grants help repair and restore these beacons, so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.”

One of the lighthouse preservation organizations receiving funds ($40,000) is the Sable Points Lighthouse Association in Ludington on the west side of the state.

With the grant, the association will hire a contractor to complete a historic structures report for the Big Sable Point Light Station. A historic structure report is a fundamental component of preservation planning, which provides information about a property’s history, documents existing conditions, and addresses management goals and rehabilitation priorities for the use or re-use of the property.

The city of Grand Haven, also on the west side of the state, received $60,000 to hire a contractor to rehabilitate the Grand Haven South Pier Entrance and Inner Lights. Proposed work will include the repair of the exterior concrete wall and deck surfaces; restoring the exterior concrete stairs; restoring the concrete curb and installing new metal flashing; and repainting.

Funding for this program comes solely from the sale of specialty Save Our Lights license plates available from the Michigan Secretary of State. To date, SHPO has awarded nearly $2.8 million in matching funds to help rehabilitate and preserve lighthouses for tourists and residents alike to explore and appreciate. To learn more about lighthouse preservation in Michigan, visit here.

Travelers interested in visiting Michigan’s lighthouses can visit here. A video about the state’s historic lighthouses can be viewed here.

Beyond Van Gogh Experience Coming to Grand Rapids in June

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will open at Devos Place in Grand Rapids on June 14.

The exhibit is a “sensory extravaganza” created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at Montreal’s Normal Studio and produced by Paquin Entertainment Group that immerses visitors in more than 300 of the greatest works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh.

The experience has sold more than 2.5 million tickets globally making it one of the most popular current traveling exhibitions.

While journeying through Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience guests witness more than 300 iconic masterpieces, including such instantly recognizable classics as “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” and ‘Café Terrace at Night,” as well many revealing self-portraits.

Prices start at $32.99 for adults and $23.99 for children (ages 5-15), plus ticketing fees. Tickets, which are expected to sell out quickly, are on-sale here and are 10 Percent off when purchased before March 17.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience will be at Devos Place between June 14-July 9.