Pontiac can have access to Oakland County’s financial and technical experts, but a merger of the two governments is out of the question. That’s the message County Executive L. Brooks Patterson delivered at a forum today on Pontiac’s deteriorating financial situation.
Pontiac’s financial manager asked Patterson to consider a merger in a letter last week. But Patterson says the county can’t afford to take on Pontiac’s problems, and isn’t equipped to deliver services at the city level. But Patterson says the threat of bankruptcy is real:
"You know the governor, God love him, said the city will not go bankrupt. Andy Dillon, the treasurer, said he will not let the city go bankrupt. I don’t know how they’re going to pull the rabbit out of the hat, but it won’t be on Oakland County’s dime. I have an obligation to protect my taxpayers."
Patterson says such a move would have huge negative consequences for the county, including the assumption of $270 million in debt from Pontiac's retiree health care.
Patterson says his team has looked at Pontiac’s numbers and concluded the city will run out of cash in three to four months.