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Detroit draws closer to consent agreement, as Court of Appeals tosses restraining order

Laughlin Elkind

The Michigan Court of Appeals today lifted a temporary restraining order that prevented the state financial review team for Detroit  from meeting.

The court’s move has opened the door to a major step in fixing Detroit’s city finances.

The financial review team, appointed by the governor,  was supposed to meet Tuesday to vote on a “consent agreement” that would restructure the city of Detroit’s finances.

The agreement would help the city avoid the appointment of an emergency manager, but would require painful budget cuts.

Michigan’s largest city faces a budget deficit of $200 million. 

But an Ingham County judge issued a restraining order Monday preventing the review team from meeting.   The judge ruled the review team’s legal authority had expired, so the 10 member panel couldn’t legally vote on the agreement.

Today, the Court of Appeals disagreed.

 The Ingham County judge’s order had a ripple effect with the Detroit city council delaying its vote on the consent agreement until later today.

The financial review team is now set to meet at 3 o’clock this afternoon to vote on the consent agreement. 

Governor Snyder issued a statement after the Court of Appeals tossed out the restraining order:

"We are extremely pleased with the action of the Court of Appeals today and remain committed to a consent agreement.  We are hopeful the Review Team and City Council move forward with their approval of a consent agreement today before the Governor is required to make a determination on Thursday, April 5, 2012." 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.