Government of Detroit
The government of Detroit, Michigan is run by a mayor, the nine-member Detroit City Council, the eleven-member Board of Police Commissioners, and a clerk. All of these officers are elected on a nonpartisan ballot, with the exception of four of the police commissioners, who are appointer by the mayor. Detroit has a "strong mayoral" system, with the mayor approving departmental appointments. The council approves budgets, but the mayor is not obligated to adhere to any earmarking. The city clerk supervises elections and is formally charged with the maintenance of municipal records. City ordinances and substantially large contracts must be approved by the council.
The 2012 Charter added political bodies to council districts called Community Advisory Councils. They are created by the circulation of petitions by residents. In March 2014 The Detroit City Council passed an ordinance that formalized the directive given in the City Charter. As of August 2019 the seventh council district is the only one of Detroit's seven districts to establish one. Members of that council were elected in the 2016 general election on November 8.
In 2018 the people of Detroit voted to revise the city charter, and elected a Charter Commission for that purpose. The revised charter could substantially change the structure of the government of Detroit if it is approved in the 2020 election.
City departments include:
Detroit's courts are all state-administered and elections are nonpartisan. The Circuit and Probate Courts for Wayne County are located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (formerly the "City-County Building"). Circuit and probate judges are elected county-wide, with circuit judges handling all cases where more than $25,000 is in dispute, felonies, divorce/custody actions, and matters of general equitable jurisdictions. Probate Court is responsible for estate administration, guardianships, conservatorships and juvenile matters. The divorce/family court docket is run jointly with the Circuit Court.
The 36th District Court, with judges elected citywide, handles civil disputes where less than $25,000 is in dispute, landlord-tenant matters, misdemeanors, and preliminary examinations of criminal defendants charged with felonies prior to being bound over to circuit court. The 36th District Court incorporated the city's common pleas, traffic court, and misdemeanor prosecutions.
In addition to these trial courts, Detroit hosts the 1st District of the Michigan Court of Appeals, located at Cadillac Place, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan located in the Theodore Levin Federal Courthouse building in Downtown Detroit.
In addition to property tax, the city levies an income tax of 2.65% on residents, 1.325% on non-residents, and 1.6% on corporations. Revenue is also obtained from utility taxes, hotel excises and from the Detroit-owned Water and Sewer system that provides most of the fresh water and sewage treatment facilities within the metropolitan area. Detroit has had to fight off legislative efforts to turn control of the system to the suburbs.
The city has experienced some fiscal years of balanced budgets in the new millennium with new growth in business and tourism. The city has planned a reduced workforce and more consolidated operations. In addition, Detroit had asked for pay cuts and other "give backs" from the municipal unions that represent city employees.
On March 1, 2013, Governor Rick Snyder announced the state was taking over the financial control of the city from the local government. The state is requesting a review team to look over the financial state of the city and determine if an emergency manager is needed to take over control of city spending from city council.
On March 14, 2013, Michigan's Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board appointed an Emergency Financial Manager, Kevyn Orr. Mr. Orr assumed his receivership responsibilities on March 25, 2013.
The city is governed pursuant to the Home Rule Charter of the City of Detroit, and the Detroit City Code is the codification of Detroit's local ordinances. Unless a violation of the code or other ordinance is specifically designated as a municipal civil infraction (or unless expressly otherwise required by applicable state or federal laws), the violation is a misdemeanor. Where there is a conflict with the Wayne County Code, the most liberal interpretation of the most restrictive, or the one imposing the most desirable, standard shall prevail.
Sister cities include:
- Toyota City, Japan
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Turin, Italy
- Minsk, Belarus
- Kitwe, Zambia
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Chongqing, China
International border city:
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- Michigan's 36th District Court Archived November 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine at ‘’www.36thdistrictcourt.org (accessed April 20, 2006).’‘
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- Detroit City Code § 1-1-9
- Wayne County Code § 1-23
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