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Politics & Government
Mon August 27, 2012
Flint's new emergency manager says city does, in fact, need an EM
Flint's new emergency financial manager disagrees -- strongly -- with recent assertions by the city council's president that Flint doesn't need an emergency financial manager anymore.
Ed Kurtz was Flint's Emergency Financial Manager a decade ago. He says the city is in much worse shape than the first time he was in charge.
The city has $19 million of debt, and nearly $1.5 billion in underfunded pension and retiree health care costs.
And outgoing Emergency Manager Mike Brown just completed a new budget that could - if the city doesn't overspend - keep Flint from going deeper in debt in the next year.
Kurtz says it's too soon to put the elected Mayor and City Council back in charge.
"From my perspective, I haven't seen any evidence since I left the last time that they're able to live with a budget," he told Michigan Radio.
Kurtz says he understands why people are upset about Brown's decision to sell the long-vacant, city-owned Genesee Towers, for a dollar, to a group that will tear it down.
Monday morning, activists unfurled a protest banner from the building that read, "Cost, $9 million in taxes - SOLD $1.00 - but nobody asked US......"
But Kurtz says nobody was willing to take over the building a decade ago, and its condition has only worsened.
"It's just a liability," he says. "It's falling down a piece at a time."
The city will also kick in about $750,000 in HUD money to help with demolition costs.
Uptown Reinvestment will pay the remainder of the demolition costs - that will be about $3.25 million more.
The company will redevelop the property after the building is gone.