(02/18/13) - Flint's Mayor Dayne Walling says crime is the biggest problem plaguing the city. But he calls 2013 a year for transition.
After 14 months of an emergency financial manager, the mayor says it's time break free. He wants out of state control, to adapt to a shrinking city and to create new opportunities for everyone.
"I believe this challenge is as great as has faced any generation in Flint," Walling said.
He addressed the city Monday afternoon, outlining his three major goals: A long term financial plan, a comprehensive master plan and transitioning out of emergency manager control.
"All I ask for the state is that the proposal be given a fair hearing for a Transition Advisory Board to be appointed pursuant to Public Act 436, Section 23, as soon as all the legal requirements are met," he said.
The board would develop a plan to get out of their $19 million deficit, and take care of finances without the emergency manager. It's something councilman Bryant Nolden agrees with.
"It will show the governor we have things in place, we can move forward as it relates to our financial situations," Nolden said.
Flint city council's finance committee will meet Wednesday to discuss asking Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint that transition team to shift away from an emergency financial manager.
The mayor also touched on the city's accomplishments. He says 1,200 more Flint residents were employed last year than the year before. Also, the city just received preliminary approval for $3.7 million from the state for blight demolition.
Walling says blight and crime go hand in hand, and a public safety millage will allow Flint to put eight more officers out on the road.
"We are going through the process, we have a couple more steps to do and they'll be out, I'm saying March third," said Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock.
Another major point Monday, the mayor says youth are the city's greatest opportunity, and they need good education and training.
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