CHICAGO — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will return the city of Lincoln Park to local control from state-imposed emergency management.
Snyder said in a statement that the action, announced Dec. 22, means no Michigan city is being run by a state-appointed emergency manager, a first in 15 years.
Snyder accepted emergency manager Brad Coulter's recommendation that Lincoln Park's fiscal crisis had been resolved. Snyder appointed a Receivership Transition Advisory Board to provide a smooth transition back to local control.
"This is a great day, not only for the city of Lincoln Park but for the entire State of Michigan," Snyder said in a statement. "Brad has provided a shining example of how the system can work; first, collaborating with local leaders to address the city's financial emergency, then working to enhance economic development to help ensure continued financial stability for Lincoln Park."
When Snyder took office in 2011, three Michigan cities — Benton Harbor, Ecorse, and Pontiac — were overseen by emergency managers allowed under state statutes. With the exit of Lincoln Park from the list it later joined in June 2014, no municipalities remain on the list. Three school districts — Detroit, Muskegon Heights and Highland Park — continue to operate under state oversight.
Coulter's letter to Snyder outlined fiscal and operational changes undertaken over the last 18 months including the elimination of a more than $1 million general fund deficit. The unassigned general fund balance now stands at a positive $186,901.
Retiree health care costs have been reduced from $4.3 million to $600,000 annually with much of the savings going toward the city's pension system. The city has also cut healthcare costs and renegotiated its firefighter contract.
Coulter issued his final order as emergency manager last week in which local leaders' roles were outlined.
The transition advisory board's members include Kevin Bonds, assistant director of the State Finance Division within the Department of Treasury; John Zech, former Wayne city manager; Genelle Allen, assistant Wayne County executive; Jessica Thomas, independent consultant for distressed local governments; and Brendan Dunleavy, former Wayne County auditor general.