CHICAGO — The long-struggling Michigan city of Pontiac has resolved its financial emergency after five years of state control, Gov. Rick Snyder announced Monday.
Snyder appointed a transition advisory board to oversee the city as its emergency manager Louis "Bud" Schimmel steps down. The advisory board is a new measure authorized under Michigan's year-old law for distressed local governments aimed at smoothing the transition out of state control.
Schimmel and other officials were set to hold a press conference detailing the transition Monday afternoon.
The Detroit suburb has seen its property tax revenue fall by nearly half since 2005.
Schimmel took over as manager in late 2011 and implemented an aggressive plan of privatization and cuts. He sold the city's sewage system to Oakland County for $55 million, using the cash to pay off nearly all of its bond debt and erase a $9.2 million structural deficit.
Schimmel outsourced nearly all city services, including police and fire. He cut the number of city employees to 20, not including the court system, from more than 1,000 in 2009, and cut the budget in half, down to $28 million.
His last goal was accomplished in August when a state board approved his plan to suspend retiree health care payments while increasing monthly pension payments to retirees by $400 to offset the loss.
"Lou did a commendable job shepherding the city through a difficult process and addressing its fiscal crisis while improving services for Pontiac residents," Snyder said in a statement. "Lou has my thanks for his service and expertise, and I appreciate his willingness to continue his public service by being a member of the Transition Advisory Board."
Other board members are Ed Koryzno, from the state treasurer's office; Robert Daddow, deputy executive of Oakland County; and Keith Sawdown, finance director for the city of Rochester Hills.
The goal of a transition advisory board is to help ensure a responsible financial course is maintained in the months and years ahead, Snyder said.