Detroit: Cutting Off The Water
… BUT SUBSIDIZING A HOCKEY ARENA?
If you don’t work, you don’t eat … at least that’s what Coolio once said. And apparently you don’t drink either. Or take a bath. Or wash your dishes.
In Detroit – a.k.a. “America’s Chernobyl” – a monthlong moratorium barring government from shutting off the water service of individuals who are delinquent in their bills is coming to an end. How many people are delinquent? As of last spring, roughly half of Detroit’s 170,000 water customers.
According to The Detroit News, 24,400 city residents are currently on payment plans, while 17,000 had their service suspended from March through July (which is when the moratorium on shutdowns went into effect). The average residential delinquency totals $540 – while the average monthly bill is roughly $75.
Despite famously going bankrupt a few years back, city taxpayers are on the hook for roughly 60 percent of the Detroit Red Wings’ new $450 million arena – part of a $650 million downtown renewal project that’s subsidized largely by property taxes.
In 1960, Detroit boasted the highest per capita income levels in America. From 2000-2010, though, the city lost a quarter of its population – and it has lost another 4 percent since then. Now 38.1 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line …
More than 78,000 homes in the city are abandoned – and an estimated thirty percent of the city’s 140 square miles is either vacant or falling apart. Forty-seven percent of the city’s residents are functionally illiterate. Sixty percent of its children are living in poverty. Half of the city’s street lights don’t work. Two-thirds of its parks have been shuttered. There are more than seventy “Superfund” hazardous waste sites within the city limits.
Viva government-subsidized “urban renewal!”