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State says the "financial emergency" in Pontiac is over, lists 5 reasons why

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Downtown Pontiac. The city has major financial problems. The emergency manager of Pontiac wants to void a contract with the city's police dispatcher's union.

The city's emergency manager is no more. Lou Schimmel issued his last orders this week.

But that doesn't mean the state is done overseeing the city.

Now a "transition advisory board" will oversee things in Pontiac, and Mr. Schimmel sits on that board as of today.

The board can oversee many parts of city government, including approving budgets, overseeing cash flow projections, review collective bargaining agreements, and approve requests by the city to issue more debt through bond offerings.

Schimmel cited the following reasons for the resolution of the "financial emergency" in Pontiac:

  • Implementing health care and benefit reforms by consolidating 87 benefit plans into one to ensure quality, affordable but sustainable coverage for employees.
  • Selling excess capacity in the city’s sewage treatment plant to Oakland County for $55 million, allowing the city to significantly reduce its debt ($87 million) and eliminate its structural deficit ($9.2 million).
  • Creating a regional fire department (merger with Waterford Township) that reduced the cost of fire services by $3.6 million annually while strengthening services.
  • Contracting with the Oakland County Sheriff for police services, which saved the city $2.2 million annually while also boosting public safety and ensuring more officers on patrol.
  • Reducing general fund expenditures by nearly $30 million in six years by closing defined benefit pension systems, eliminating money-losing enterprise activities, consolidating or streamlining departments, and modifying the city’s hiring process.

Schimmel and city officials are planning to hold press conference later today. More details to follow.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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