Detroit City Council to meet tomorrow to discuss cash crisis

Dec 3, 2012

The City of Detroit is facing its own fiscal cliff, and the Detroit City Council wants to talk some more about it.

Council is expected to meet tomorrow with Detroit Mayor Bing to discuss Detroit's financial situation.

Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Members of Bing's administration and representatives of the city's Budget and Finance Department are expected to be at the meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The city is facing a shortfall and could run out of cash by the end of the month if they don't meet certain benchmarks put in place by the state.

The city has to meet these benchmarks under its "financial stability agreement" with the state.

The state has refused to release $30 million in bonds because the city council will not approve a $300,000 law contract with the firm Miller Canfield.

The firm is supposed to advise Mayor Bing on legal matters.

Helms reports, council members are skeptical of the contract.

The council rejected the $300,000 contract, saying Miller Canfield has too many conflicts of interest because it helped write the state's now-dead emergency manager law, Public Act 4, as well as the city's financial stability agreement with the state. Council members have told Bing they want him to hire a different law firm.

Approval of that contract was one of several benchmarks the state and Bing administration agreed would be met in order for the state to release $30 million in bond sale proceeds now held in escrow. The state told Detroit it won't get additional revenues from the $137 million in bonds until it shows progress in meeting financial reforms.

The contract is not expected to be voted on during tomorrow's meeting.

Council President Charles Pugh says council members want an "honest, realistic discussion" on the city's current financial condition and what the next steps are.

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