State officials signaled Wednesday it could step in and appoint an emergency manager to get Wayne County’s finances in order after rejecting a draft of a plan to cut more than $175 million in debt.
Rejection of the draft puts more pressure on Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano to bring unions and county officials to the table to sign off on the strategy. The Detroit Free Press reports.
The county commission, the county treasurer and unions have not agreed to the plan, something they need to do before the end of June to avoid state takeover. A majority of commissioners have said they won’t approve the plan because it doesn’t offer long-term solvency, as Ficano has promised, and because current and former employees have largely been left out of decisions that affect them the newspaper said.
However, Commissioner Laura Cox said she’s eager to vote on the plan. It’s not perfect, she said, but it’s overall a good plan and it shows state officials that Wayne County is willing to work on the debt elimination plan.
““We are out of compliance,” Cox, R-Livonia, said. “It’s very important that Wayne County present a deficit-elimination plan to the state because we haven’t in several years. The last one was rejected by the state. I think we owe it to the taxpayers to present to them how we plan to reduce our deficit.”
Commissioner Tim Killeen, D-Detroit, said he likes certain aspects of the plan, but said the county didn’t make much effort to sell it to unions representing county workers before presenting it to the commission.
“I’d rather have them work it out (with the unions), then bring it to us when it’s done,” he told the Free Press.
Ficano’s sweeping plan includes three major proposals:
Reorganizing and recapitalizing the County-owned wastewater treatment facilities for a savings of about $121 million
Transferring $81 million to the general fund from the delinquent tax fund
- Making changes in how employee health-care and pensions plans are computed, an $825 million obligation that is currently only about 50 percent funded.