Detroit council approves law firm contract, other milestones - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Detroit council approves law firm contract, other milestones

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(Credit: WJBK) Activist speaks out against approval of Miller Canfield contract (Credit: WJBK) Activist speaks out against approval of Miller Canfield contract

By Alexis Wiley
Fox 2 News

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Detroit city leaders are working hard to avoid a state takeover, especially since Lansing lawmakers are now talking about new emergency manager legislation.  The City Council on Tuesday voted to accept several key measures they had previously been fighting and paved the way for a controversial urban farm.

"You've got the city facing it's own fiscal cliff and yet we've had more people coming down in the past 24 hours complaining about somebody wanting to come in and buy vacant lots to plant trees," said Detroit City Council Member Ken Cockrel, Junior.

However, despite complaints and legitimate concerns, Detroit City Council approved the sale of 1,500 city-owned lots to Hantz Woodlands, which will eventually become an urban farm.

"It will help us with our blight," said Mayor Dave Bing.  "If that land goes to a private owner, we then can levy taxes on that owner."

Opponents say the land is being sold below market value and should be available to more Detroiters.  Many shared their concerns at the council table, but a few others choose another route.

"The idea of chaos and shutting down a meeting because you don't get what you want, that's (an expletive)," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

Council members continued through their agenda, approving six pieces of the milestone agreement and the once divisive Miller Canfield contract allowing the city to tap into $30 million being held by the state.

"We all have basically said we don't want a financial manager to come in here and run the city," Bing said.

Pugh also had a message for those who use bad behavior to hijack progress.

"You can go home and tear up your whole house.  I don't care.  But in the City Council you're going to have respect for the process, respect for the people and respect for the fact that we're conducting business."

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