Report Paints Grim Financial Picture for City of Detroit

Pension funds, borrowing capabilities in disarray

(Image: MWSanders/Flicker)

A state-mandated report by the city of Detroit’s emergency manager has revealed an expected, if not predictable, set of affairs concerning the financial health of the beleaguered city, with reports saying that costs of retiree benefits take up nearly a third of the city budget, and the situation is so dire that it’s nearly impossible for the city to borrow money.

The report comes as Detroit will have a budget shortfall of $162 million. The report was completed by Washington, D.C.- based bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn D. Orr, who was appointed to the emergency post on March 25 by Mayor Dave Bing. The 40-page document has come under fire in some local circles because it does not begin to address how Orr’s office or that of the Mayor will begin to address the crisis.

Orr’s spokesman, Bill Nowling, said such a plan is in the works.

“This is a pretty comprehensive diagnosis, but it’s not a cure or management plan,” Nowling said. “That’s going to come later. We really had to get this in place so we’re not putting the cart before the horse. It gives us a platform to really start the restructuring process, now that we know what the city’s financial picture is.”

On Sunday, Mayor Bing said his office was still reviewing the report, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“However, my initial review is that the assessment by Mr. Orr of the city’s financial condition is consistent with my administration’s findings,” Bing said in a statement. “A complete and comprehensive evaluation of the manager’s report will be conducted over the next 24 hours, and any further comment will be reserved until that review is completed.”

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