CHICAGO — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared the four-year long state of financial emergency is over in the city of Flint.
The governor made the announcement April 29, the same day that a state board approved a $7 million emergency loan. The city plans to use the money to plug a general fund deficit.
A receivership transition advisory board made up of five state appointees will now replace Flint's emergency manager, Jerry Ambrose. The board will oversee the city for an undetermined period of time.
The mayor, city administrator and city council will take over most daily operations. The state has taken over Flint, located 60 miles from Detroit, twice in the last 10 years, most recently in 2011.
"The citizens are back at the table," Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said at a press conference with Deputy Treasurer Wayne Workman.
Workman added that it's routine for the state to give local governments a loan as they exit emergency management.
The state said the city achieved several goals under emergency management, including reducing long-term liabilities to $240 million from $850 million. The city council and mayor have enacted several long-term financial sustainability tactics, including the adoption of a two-year budget, five-year projections, a strategic plan, establishment of a fund balance reserve and a budget stabilization fund.
"This is a new day for Flint and the city is ready to move toward a brighter future," Snyder said in a statement. "These are important steps as we work together to transition back to local control in the city."
The move comes despite ongoing uncertainty related to the city's retiree health care obligations. A lawsuit filed by retirees to block benefit cuts is still winding its way through the courts, and if the city loses analysts expect major pressure on Flint's general fund.
Flint is also struggling with a water crisis after it broke away from Detroit's water system and began to draw water from the Flint River a year ago. Since then, residents have repeatedly complained about the color and smell of the water and the city has been found to be in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act due to high levels of trihalomenthanes.