Detroit City Council to consider proposed state pact

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 8:43 PM
Detroit City Council to consider proposed state pact

DETROIT (Reuters) - The Detroit City Council will see a draft on Thursday of the proposed agreement with the state of Michigan to stabilize the city's finances, a spokeswoman for Council President Charles Pugh said late Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Kirsten Ussery said Detroit Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis would "walk the council through" the proposed agreement during the meeting and that a formal vote on the pact would likely take place on Monday.

A special 10-member advisory team sent in by the state to examine Detroit's books concluded its 90-day audit of the city on Monday, declaring it in a position of "severe financial stress" and likely to run out of cash within weeks without some kind of intervention.

Two weeks ago, Governor Rick Snyder unveiled a proposed solution that would allow Detroit Mayor Bing and the city council to continue to wield some power but give a nine-member state-appointed financial advisory board broad powers to restructure operations and overhaul spending. The city rejected the proposal but offered a proposal of its own last week. The two sides have been negotiating ever since.

During a town hall meeting in Detroit on Wednesday, Snyder said negotiators were "close" to reaching a final deal that would "have the city run the city in large part."

Negotiators have only eight days now to ink a pact before state law will force Snyder to act. If an agreement is not reached by April 5, he can cut off revenue-sharing funds to Detroit or appoint an outside emergency manager to run the city. Detroit has faced increasing hard times for decades as the automakers headquartered here struggled with foreign competition. But its financial woes have grown in recent years as its population tumbled. Detroit has an annual budget of about $3.1 billion but long-term debt in excess of $12 billion. In 2010, it had a total long-term debt-to-net-asset ratio of 32.64 to 1, according to the review team.

Deputy Lewis will make the presentation to the city council because Mayor Bing is still recuperating from surgery.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Greg McCune)