The city should just be taken over by the state. Everyone in City Hall is clearly too incompetent to do the job. (Jack Young, acting as Mayor is laughable. Bigger Idiot than Pugh). They give themselves raises as the city crumbles around them and schools can’t even get the proper amenities.
Let the state have a look at the books (that are probably fucked anyway), have them look at their priorities, which are definitely out of whack, and get them in order. Have the state do the financial analysis. Figure out how much money is coming in, where it’s going. Outside eyes make an unbiased financial plan for the next few years. One focused on lowering property taxes which are double the next highest in the state. One focused on lowering the income tax which is the highest allowed by law. One focused on making schools worth going to. One that doesn’t include raises for City Hall officials who are not hurting with their salaries. Better Taxes and better schools will keep people in the city.
Maybe in 10 years, give the city their own government back, under close supervision of the state, with strict rules enacted by the state to prevent any downfall again.
There's so many reasons that this would make everything ten times worse, but just to answer the bolded portion...unless the amount of fat on the books was astronomical, just otherworldly, you're not going to lower taxes and improve the schools.
I don't agree with the "clean house, clean books, THEN throw money at the problem" solution, but that's more feasible than just letting the state swoop in. There's no way the state would release hold, if that ever happened.