CHICAGO - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared the financial emergency in the city of Allen Park to be resolved, after the Detroit suburb secured a state loan for pension payments and sold off bond-financed property that was straining its general fund.
The state-appointed emergency manager will leave and the state will shift oversight to a Receivership Transition Advisory Board.
Allen Park's financial problems were due in part to its decision in 2009 to float $31 million of general obligation bonds for an ambitious film studio that never materialized. The city for years struggled to make debt payments amid falling property values and other revenue declines.
The city has since successfully sold the film studio as well as its neighboring City Hall, according to the state. The purchases will generate an estimated $15.5 million in new revenue for the city, according to a statement from Snyder's office.
The city will use the $2.6 million loan from the state to pay off missed pension fund payments. Emergency manager Joyce Parker said the city has eliminated a structural and cumulative deficit and ended the most recent fiscal year with a projected fund balance of $3.6 million. Parker also cut employee pay by 10%, eliminated some positions, consolidated health care plans, and increase employee contributions.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the residents of Allen Park," Parker said in a statement. "We have taken some difficult but very important steps to address the city's financial emergency and I believe Allen Park is on solid financial footing for the foreseeable future. I am also pleased to remain involved with city officials and residents as a member of the receivership transition advisory board."
The board will be made up of Parker, Suzanne Schafer, administrator of Michigan Treasury's Local Audit and Finance Division, attorney Frederick Frank, and Kristine Barann, vice president of finance at Baker College of Allen Park.
"I am very pleased to accept Joyce Parker's recommendation that the financial emergency in Allen Park has been sufficiently addressed and that we can begin the process of transitioning back to local control," Snyder said. "As a critical first step, members of the newly-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board will work cooperatively with local leaders to ensure continued financial stability and growth in Allen Park. This is a great day for city residents."