Mays said he believed council members Monica Galloway and Jerri Carter-Winfrey would support his budget amendment. The proposed budget calls for $392,466 to be spent on blight management, including wages, fringe benefits, supplies, and operating expenses in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. “I’m gonna dare the (other) six council people,” Mays said. “I dare them not to adequately fund blight. It looks like a third-world country around here.”
“The problem is, there simply aren’t enough laborers …,” Fields said. “I know this is a fragile budget but I think we need at least 10 laborers.” Neeley’s proposed $71-million budget invests in two new employees in blight reduction, but with just three full-time employees in the division now, Fields said it’s still not enough.
Mays, who represents the city’s 1st Ward, asked council staff to prepare a resolution to dedicate at least $1 million to target blight. “We just keep going around in circles …,” Fields said in a budget hearing Monday. “We don’t have enough laborers and equipment to get it all picked up.”
In his budget message, Neeley said the city has renewed its campaign to fight blight and has been working with community organizations such as the Neighborhood Engagement Hub and Keep Genesee County Beautiful. “Through these partnerships and others, the city has cleaned up 308 properties and 2.7 million pounds of trash over the last year,” the budget sent to the council says. “Two new employees are being added to the blight budget … (allowing for) increased blight management and improved response time.” “(It would be) absolutely necessary to have the equipment to be able to move these items and clean up,” he said. “I’m not sure where we get that money from.”
Additional equipment for clearing trash and restoring property would also be necessary, Edwards said. City Administrator Clyde Edwards said council members need to consider that adding employees alone won’t fix the appearance of the city.
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