DETROIT (WWJ) – The Wayne County Commission has approved a plan for widespread cuts to shore up a massive $175 million deficit.
Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak says the debt was racked up mostly through declining property values and not mishaps like the failed plan to build a new Wayne County jail.
“In reality with the decline of property taxes since 2008, we are about one hundred million dollars less in revenue,” said Woronchak. “One hundred million less than we were back then – in fact, the jail project – which is still on our plates, we are trying to resolve and which could be very costly has nothing to do with the current accumulated deficit.”
But the plan has drawn criticism from both the Sheriff and County Prosecutor who say they don’t have enough resources to do their jobs.
The jail project was scrapped after construction was already substantially underway.
“There just isn’t more money, it’s not like there’s a big poker game going on in the back room so it’s another ten million dollars that we are holding back from the prosecutor,” Woronchak said. “There just isn’t money right now to fund those offices at those levels, that those officials believe they need to be funded at.”
Woronchak said the plan will erase the deficit without raising taxes.
“At some point many suggest that like many municpalities around Wayne County that have gone to their voters over the last several years and gotten millage increases to off set the decline in property tax revenue – eventually Wayne county after they get their house in order – may have to ask residents for some sort of a public safety enhancement or something.”
The plan already has the approval of the State Treasury Department.