DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s finances have essentially been declared a disaster and may wind up out of the city’s hands. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has 30 days to decide if Detroit needs an emergency manager to take charge of its finances and spending.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950, State Treasurer Andy Dillon said it’s the governor’s call — but he thinks a manager is a good idea, and the only way to get city residents the services they need.
“The city’s had a lot of time to get this house in order in their own and, at some point, you know, we have a responsibility at the state to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the residents and … no one’s suffering more than the residents of the city, and I think that’s what should be our main focus,” Dillon said.
Detroit is billions of dollars in debt and has a budget deficit topping $300 million. And Dillon said it’s actually far worse than what’s seen on the surface.
He said the city has run under deficits north of $100 million every year since 2005. In recent months, the city has continued to have trouble with cash flow and has been relying on bond money from a state-held escrow account to help pay its bills.
Dillon is part of a six-member state-appointed team that determined that Detroit leaders have no solid plan in place to resolve the crisis.
“The mayor and council really have come together in the last six months and have done a lot,” said Dillon. “But I just think that the problem is so great and the challenges presented by the governing structure of the city as well, as the charter, make it necessary to have one person that’s in charge who can start to begin the turn around of the city of Detroit.”
Dillon said, if it’s determined that state intervention is necessary, Snyder will be the one to name the manager. He said Snyder has identified a couple people who he believes would be capable — but no decision has been made.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office said Snyder will take some time to review the team’s report and make a determination on an emergency manager sooner rather than later.