Detroit agrees to fiscal power sharing

April 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM
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DETROIT, April 5 (UPI) -- The Detroit City Council has approved a power-sharing agreement on fiscal matters with the state, as officials struggle to keep the city solvent.

City officials voted 5-4 to approve a consent agreement that Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis said keeps the decision-making power on finances in the city's hands. However, the state is standing by to possibly declare an emergency situation exists in the nearly bankrupt city.

The state will also appoint members to a Financial Advisory Board, as will the mayor's office and the city council.

"This agreement … ensures the future of Detroit is determined by Detroiters and its elected officials," Lewis said, speaking on the city's behalf, as Mayor Dave Bing was re-admitted to a hospital earlier Thursday.

The mayor's office said Bing was hospitalized for discomfort following surgery.

Both the mayor and Gov. Rick Snyder are expected to sign the consent agreement, The Detroit News reported.

"The council has acted responsibly to put Detroit on the path to financial stability," Snyder said in a statement.

The governor also said, "much work remains."

The agreement calls for creation of the Financial Advisory Board that will report to the mayor's office.

The city is struggling with enormous debts and more than $12 billion in obligations to pension and personnel benefit funds.

While its expenses are escalating, 250,000 residents have left the city in the past decade. On top of a difficult economic environment, their departure represents shrinking tax revenues.

The News said many were angry, considering the consent agreement a sell-out to the state.

"I pray that God will forgive you all. It's certainly going to be hard for the people to forgive you," minister Malik Shabazz told City Council members, the News reported.

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