Detroit to collect delinquent taxes and fees to generate revenue - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Detroit to collect delinquent taxes and fees to generate revenue

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is working to help his city recover from a financial crisis and avoid a state takeover.  The city says the collection agency is coming and no one is immune.

"If you owe the money, we expect you to pay the money or we're coming after you," Bing said Wednesday.

The mayor and his team are looking to generate revenue for the city mostly through collecting what's already owed.

"A lot of people feel that we haven't done anything, that we're just sitting around twiddling our thumbs, but we've already collected over $11 million," Bing explained.

They're doing it by collecting delinquent income taxes, permit fees for building and safety, environmental and fire inspections, parking tickets, delinquent lease payments at the airport, solid waste collection fees and Medicaid reimbursements the state owes the city, as well as asset sales like the Veteran's Memorial Building to the UAW.

In all, they're predicting this plan will generate $50 million for the struggling city, and they're hoping it will be even more.

The city will offer a tax amnesty program in January -- penalty abatements on delinquent income taxes -- and they say they will also eventually offer one for property taxes.

"It doesn't matter about the politics for me.  If they owe it, they need to pay it," Bing said.

Like the Ilitches, who owe the city $1.5 million for Joe Louis Arena.  Bing says the city is in negotiations with them and there will be other big names who will be asked to pay up.

"In reality, this is not a get tough stance on anybody.  It's fairness and it's being correct, doing what we are supposed to do.  That's what we're going to do," Bing told reporters.

Is it too little too late to stave off emergency management efforts underway in Lansing?  Bing says he hasn't thrown in the towel.

"I think they will understand that I doubt if anybody else can come in here and do a better job than we," he remarked.

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