Ed Kurtz

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s Emergency Manager submitted his letter of resignation today.     

Ed Kurtz has long said he planned to step down at the close of the fiscal year at the end of June.  His letter of resignation simply makes that official.

Kurtz was appointed as Flint’s emergency financial manager last summer, after the city’s previous emergency manager had to step down because of changes in the law.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last night, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported on the city of Flint's budget.

While the emergency manager delivered a balanced budget for next year, the city council was concerned the budget cuts would negatively impact basic city services. 

This morning, MLive and the Flint Journal reported that the emergency manager, Ed Kurtz, wants to raise income taxes in order to stabilize the city's finances.

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Detroit Democrats propose auto insurance reform

Democratic state lawmakers from Detroit are proposing their own strategy to overhaul auto insurance in Michigan.

“The Democrats oppose Governor Snyder’s plan to cap insurance payouts for catastrophic injuries sustained in car accidents...Detroit caucus members say they’ll propose other measures, like requiring insurance companies to justify rate increases,” Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports.

Flint’s EM recommends income tax increase

Flint’s emergency manager says his budget plan for the next year is balanced, but he warns that without new tax revenue sources, the city will again fall into debt.

“[Emergency Manager Ed] Kurtz says the loss of grant funding and declining property tax revenues will leave the city millions of dollars in the hole each year through 2018. Kurtz says Flint needs to raise its city income tax rate. Otherwise, Kurtz says Flint will face another round of budget cuts, including to police and fire,” according to Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody.

Salaries for state officials expected to stay the same

“A state salary commission is expected to recommend no salary hikes for the governor or legislators. Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders sent word they’re not seeking bigger paychecks. There could be a battle over judges’ salaries, though, when the State Officers Compensation Commission meets today. Some judges have asked for a bump after a 10-year salary freeze,” Rick Pluta reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is delivering a balanced budget for next year, but the future may not be as bright.

The city of Flint is closing out its current fiscal year with a balanced budget. Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz says next year’s budget should be balanced as well. City officials gave state Treasury Department officials a briefing on the budget, before showing Flint’s city council the plan.

Flint city council members expressed concern that the proposed FY2014 budget is a little too tight.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager will unveil the city’s budget plan for next year later today.

Elected officials in most Michigan cities have spent the past month or so holding public meetings to discuss and get public feedback on their spending plans for next year.

But in Flint, the emergency manager has sidelined the mayor and city council

So the budget has been drafted behind closed doors.

The plan will be made public late this afternoon, after state officials have had a look and possibly made some changes.

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Flint’s Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, says he will resign come June 30th, which may put Flint a step closer to returning to local control. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks with Jennifer White about the financial future of Flint.

Flint’s city council recently passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and appoint a transition advisory team.

“There are a number of requirements in the law that would have to be met by the appointed manager before a transition board could be put in place, such as the adoption of a two-year budget. So, city council leadership and I have been calling on for those steps to get done as soon as possible. The city of Flint does face financial challenges, let’s get addressed as soon as possible so we can move on,” says Mayor Walling.

When asked how financially healthy Flint is right now, Walling says:

“It’s marginally stable. But our position is that it’s going to take some long-term planning, some serious community partnerships to get the city to where it’s more sustainable going forward. And that work cannot be done effectively by an appointed manager.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A battle is brewing over where the city of Flint will get its tap water.

Last month, the Flint city council voted to join a project to get fresh water from Lake Huron.   Supporters say the project will save the city millions of dollars by replacing its current water source: the city of Detroit.

But the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is asking the state Treasury Department to veto the plan.

Bill Johnson is with the DWSD. He says state officials need to step in to prevent a “water war.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint City Council has taken a first step toward taking back control of the city’s finances.

The council last night unanimously passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager.
 

Flint city officials want the governor to replace the emergency manager with a transition team to phase out state control of the city’s finances over two years.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote tonight on a plan that may set the stage for the city to emerge from state oversight. 

The council will consider asking the governor to appoint a “receivership transition advisory board.”    

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says the board would guide the city after the departure of the emergency manager.

“This is an area of the law that we want to take advantage of,” says Walling, “We want assistance with our revenue estimates…with budget amendments.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A decision could come tonight that may determine if the city of Flint will look elsewhere to get its tap water.

The Flint city council will consider whether to sign on with a project to build a pipeline to carry water from Lake Huron to Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac Counties.

The quarter billion dollar Karegnondi Water Authority project has been in the discussion stages for years, but actual work on the pipeline may begin soon.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is hoping to collect some unpaid city income taxes. The money could help reduce Flint’s crushing budget deficit.

The city of Flint is struggling to reduce its $19 million budget deficit.

To chip away at part of that, city officials plan to pressure people who haven’t paid their city income taxes for a while.

The city estimates that it’s owed between $300,000 and $400,000 in unpaid income taxes for just 2010.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

Alarm companies in Flint are refusing to pay nearly $134,000 in bills from the city of Flint related to police response to false alarm calls.

David Harris of the Flint Journal reports:

The Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan is fighting a policy in Flint that bills the alarm company directly as opposed to the customer, said Karen Majeske, the association's board director.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint mayor Dayne Walling says his city must now make a transition to an era of 'reconstruction' after a 'generation of decline.'

Walling told the audience at his ‘State of the City’ address Monday that in order to begin that transition Flint must deal with its crime problem.

Flint had the worst violent crime rate in the nation last year. 

“We have lost too many lives. Too many of our promising youth who were confined to environments that were always dangerous and all too often became deadly,” Walling told his audience.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A private company will start picking up Flint’s residential trash next month.

Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz says Republic Services can handle Flint’s waste collection for a million dollars a year less than the city can itself.    The two sides signed a contract this week. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state Treasury Department is changing the rules for people hired by emergency financial managers.

Barnett Jones was hired last year as Flint’s Public Safety Administrator by the city’s emergency manager.  He resigned earlier this month after it was discovered he had a second full time job as the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department security director.

To avoid having that happen again, the state Treasury Department is inserting language in future contracts that says emergency financial manager appointees can not engage in other employment, unless approved by the EFM.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s Emergency Financial Manager says he’s ‘concerned’ about ending Michigan’s Personal Property tax.

Governor Snyder signed the phase out of the tax on business equipment today.

Flint relies on the tax for about 10% of its property tax revenues.

Ed Kurtz is Flint’s Emergency Financial Manager.   He hopes the legislature will help cities replace the money they’ll lose.  

Kurtz needs every dollar he can get to lift Flint from its multi-million dollar budget deficit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Leaders from Flint will meet with state officials in Lansing tomorrow. The conversation will be about water.

Flint has been getting its municipal water from Detroit’s water system for more than 30 years.   But Flint officials say the Detroit water is becoming more and more expensive, and their city needs an alternative.

They want to be part of a project to tap water from Lake Huron.

“We expect that within 36 months…we could have a fresh, raw water supply to our water treatment plant in Flint,” says Howard Croft, Flint's director of infrastructure.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A stalled housing project in Flint is finally moving forward.

Smith Village has been a longtime headache for Flint city leaders.

The Smith Village project started in 1998 when the federal government gave the city of Flint money to build low and moderate income homes.  The plan was to rebuild a neighborhood with more than 80 new, low-to-moderate income homes.

But numerous delays and lawsuits stalled the development.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is restarting its derelict home demolition program.

The program was stalled earlier this year because of a lack of money.

Flint’s Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz says the city plans to use some federal grant money to tear down abandoned homes that have become public safety problems.

“Hopefully, with the 2.3 million we can maybe get somewhere…around 300 homes,” says Kurtz,  “Just to put it into perspective….there’s probably some ten thousand properties in the city that would be subject to demolition.”

Lead in text: 
The city is still carrying debts that add up to $19 million. Emergency financial manager Ed Kurtz says services have been cut to the bone. Tax increases could be coming.
Politics & Government
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are concerns that Flint could lose a major corporate headquarters.

Flint-based Citizens Bank is being bought by an Ohio bank for nearly a billion dollars.

Citizens has been an important institution in Flint since the bank was founded in 1871.  Citizens Bank loaned General Motors founder William Durant money he needed to start his manufacturing career.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Michigan's emergency manager law has been put on hold.

Its fate will be decided by voters this November.

In the meantime, cities and school districts once ruled by emergency managers now have emergency financial managers overseeing their budgets.

Public Act 72 was revived when Public Act 4 went up on the shelf.

Flint's City Council voted last night to challenge this rollback in court. Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reports:

City of Flint

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.