wayne county

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talked about Flint's struggling water and sewer fund, while Wayne County has its first budget surplus in eight years. He also talked about the life of former Detroit Mayor Roman Gribbs, who passed away yesterday.


Freighter on the Detroit River with GM headquarters in background
James Marvin Phelps

Following extensive efforts to improve its financial standing, Wayne County has a budget surplus for the first time in eight years.

The office of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement Tuesday that for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015 the county had an available general fund surplus of $5.7 million.
 

Flickr user markbwavy/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is moving forward on a new rule to cut air pollution in part of Wayne County.

The rule will limit sulfur dioxide emissions from two US Steel facilities. They’re in southwest Detroit and two downriver suburbs deemed in “non-attainment” of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Barb Rosenbaum is with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality division.

She says the agency is still working on a larger sulfur dioxide attainment plan for that area, after getting feedback on an initial draft.

Grand Rapids was the fastest growing metro area in Michigan according to new Census data.
Steven Depolo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New Census figures show the Grand Rapids area is the fastest growing metro area in Michigan.

The numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau say the Grand Rapids area, which includes Barry, Kent, Montcalm and Ottawa counties, grew by 0.9% from July 2014 to July 2015. 

Wayne County, conversely, had the nation’s second largest population decrease last year.

flickr user Joe Gratz

A federal judge has given some Wayne County homeowners suing over alleged illegal foreclosures a partial, early victory.

U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy granted a temporary restraining owner protecting three families from eviction at least through mid-January.

The families are part of a larger federal lawsuit that alleges officials from Wayne County and several Detroit suburbs illegally “conspired” to seize their homes through tax foreclosure, and sell them off to private developers.

Just a few months after a state-declared financial emergency, Wayne County officials are trumpeting what they call “swift” and “substantial” progress on the county’s budget deficit.

After that declaration from Gov. Rick Snyder – which came at County Executive Warren Evans’ request –Wayne County quickly entered into a consent agreement with the state. That gave Evans substantial power to get concessions from county employee unions.

In 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy held a news conference to announce $4 million to help reduce a backlog in processing thousands of rape kits. Schuette holds a rape kit box.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Wayne County plans to use $1 million to help investigate rape kits found six years ago in a Detroit police property storage facility.

County Executive Warren Evans announced Tuesday that the money will be allocated to Prosecutor Kym Worthy's 2015-16 budget.

The move has to be approved by county commissioners. The money would come from a delinquent tax fund.

Evans also says space will be provided in the county's Guardian Building in downtown Detroit for investigators and members of the Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

The Tricycle Collective is working to help keep families in their homes through the tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit.
Michele Oberholtzer

Wayne County is currently in the midst of the largest municipal property auction in United States history.

Some 30,000 properties are on the auction block, and around 85% of the properties facing foreclosure are in Detroit.

Michele Oberholtzer watched the 2014 Wayne County Tax Foreclosure and saw that many of those properties sold to investors and speculators were occupied homes.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

The IRS is auditing Wayne County over $200 million in bonds for a jail that was never completed.

The Wayne County Building Authority issued the bonds to construct a new jail in 2010.

The county shut down the project in 2013, after costs skyrocketed beyond original projections.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Commission has approved the consent agreement with the state by a 14 to 1 vote. The consent agreement will require the county to make deep cuts in spending and address chronic issues in its jails. 

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jennifer White to look more closely at how that consent agreement might work.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

It will get harder from here.

Wayne County Commissioners have approved a consent agreement with the State of Michigan to deal with the county's fiscal emergency.

Of the 14 commissioners, only one, Jewel Ware, voted no.

The agreement means the county will be able to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager, if it can meet the terms.

Thomas Hawk / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder is applauding Michigan’s largest county for moving toward a consent agreement with the state.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has called for a consent agreement to deal with the city’s troubled finances. The county commission approved that option after a state review team last month found a financial emergency exists and Snyder confirmed that finding.

http://www.waynecounty.com/executive/index.htm / Wayne County

With Wayne County in a state-confirmed financial emergency, its leaders are trying to avoid an emergency manager or bankruptcy.

Today, the Wayne County Commissioners went for a third option: a consent agreement.

It’s what County Executive Warren Evans has been pushing for since he asked the state to declare the county in a financial emergency.

Once that emergency was declared, the state gave the county four options: emergency manager or bankruptcy, which nobody wants - or a "neutral evaluation" which basically means mediation, or a consent agreement. 

State of Michigan

Wayne County commissioners will officially decide Thursday how to tackle the county’s financial emergency.

Michigan’s largest county has reported a running budget gap of around $50 million a year, prompting Wayne County Executive Warren Evans to ask the state to step in.

Traverse City Rotary Club / flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Governor Snyder has made it official: Wayne County is in a state of financial emergency.

County Executive Warren Evans had asked for the declaration.

Wayne County faces a projected budget shortfall of $171 million by 2019.

Governor Rick Snyder has affirmed a finding that Michigan's most-populated county is in a state of fiscal crisis.

The determination by the governor is the next step toward forcing the county to accept an agreement that includes big cuts to get to a structurally balanced budget.

The initial review was requested by Wayne County Executive Warren Evens, who says the county does not have to follow Detroit into emergency management and bankruptcy.

Wayne County woes

Jul 22, 2015

If you’ve studied biology, you may know about a phenomenon called protective coloration. Snowshoe hares, for example, are brown in the fall and white in the winter, so they can blend into their surroundings and not be easily seen by predators.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about Wayne County’s financial crisis and the plans to fix it, children in poverty, the roads stalemate, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s trip to Japan. 

Money troubles for Wayne County

Wayne County, Michigan’s most populous county, is facing a financial crisis.

Thomas Hawk / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state review team has confirmed a financial emergency in Wayne County.

The governor will have 10 days to decide whether he agrees that Wayne County is in dire straits. But no one expects the governor will take that long.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two largest counties are illegally foreclosing on thousands of properties for delinquent taxes, according to class-action lawsuits filed this month.

Wayne and Oakland counties have both foreclosed on thousands of properties for unpaid taxes in recent years.

But in doing so they’ve denied property owners their due process rights, according to the lawsuits filed in circuit courts for both counties.

Money
User: penywise / MorgueFile

The city of Detroit emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last year. Now, Wayne County, where Detroit is located, finds itself facing about a $50 million structural deficit and unfunded pension liability estimated at $850 to $940 million.

http://www.waynecounty.com/prosecutor/

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office says it's still investigating the death of Terrance Kellom, a 20-year-old man fatally shot by a federal agent in April.

“We are waiting for a report that we expect to receive in the near future,” said spokesperson Maria Miller on Thursday afternoon. “We must have that before a decision can be made in this matter. We do not expect to release anything at this time.”

But Friday morning a group of activists plan to hold a silent vigil outside the courthouse, saying the prosecutor promised the investigation would be released by tomorrow.

 A state panel says Wayne County is in a state of “probable financial stress.” It was a unanimous determination by the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board. 

Board member and state Treasurer Nick Khouri says now the state will send in a review team to examine the books in Michigan’s most-populous county, which includes the city of Detroit and its suburbs.

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

After months of outreach and efforts to avoid a massive foreclosure crisis, more than 32,000 Wayne County properties are still on track for the county’s annual property tax auction in the fall.

That’s 32,629 properties county-wide, according to the latest numbers from the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. 28,545 of those distressed properties are in Detroit, the heart of the delinquent property tax issues.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Treasury started reviewing Wayne County’s financial situation Friday.

The state review comes after Wayne County’s top administrator asked for it, earlier this week.

In a letter to the state, County executive Warren Evans wrote this week the deficit is $9.9 million. 

Wayne County executive Warren Evans has asked state officials to declare a financial emergency there.

In a letter to state treasurer Nick Khouri Wednesday, Evans lays out his reasons for requesting state intervention in Michigan’s largest county, and requests Khouri start the process that could lead to a financial emergency being declared.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains the latest road funding proposal, an effort by the Snyder administration to prevent sexual assault on college campuses and the latest on efforts to help ease the foreclosure crisis in Wayne County.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has again extended the deadline for homeowners to avoid tax foreclosure.

Facing the prospect of an unprecedented foreclosure crisis, the county has expanded its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners, and had already moved back the original March payment deadline to Monday. 

Foreclosed House
Brendel / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is one of several organizations calling on Wayne County to halt tax foreclosures for thousands of properties.

This comes the same day the Wayne County Treasurer's Office announced a second deadline extension for residents to avoid losing their homes.

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