Thanks to the Arab American News for a great discussion on everything from balanced budgets, county services and if Wayne County needs an emergency manager or a new CEO?
The Detroit Regional Chamber always provides valuable opportunities to network and get informed about all the major issues around the region. The Detroit Policy Conference was buzzing with conversation about Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City Address. There was also a great vibe with business leaders, community activists, media and others conversing and socializing. Several insightful speakers covered a variety of topics including education, workforce development, economic development and the city’s turnaround plans.
I was honored to be invited to Mayor Mike Duggan’s Detroit State of the City Address. As a mayor of a city that underwent a turnaround, I was encouraged to hear the plans Mayor Duggan has in place to make a change in Detroit. His first annual State of the City Address set a positive tone for region.
I attended Crain’s Newsmaker of the Year luncheon yesterday and was encouraged to hear Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan say Detroit is closer to a turn around than most people think.
As someone who understands the challenges of turning around a city, I appreciate his optimism and focus. As I circled the room and chatted, I caught up with many influential leaders including Debbie Dingell, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, and Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson among others.
“My wife Sherri and I had a great time celebrating the work of AFPD (the voice of independent retails) at their 98th annual Dinner and Ball at the Suburban Showplace in Novi on Saturday February 22. We appreciate being guests of Auday Arabo, president and CEO and being so warmly received by the members. I was able to reconnect with many members I have met in the past while meeting so many new people and sharing with them how we plan to transform Wayne County. The independent retailers are an important group of business owners who continuously make a tremendous impact on the state’s economy.”
Westland, Michigan-After an initial review of the Wayne County deficit elimination plan and listening to the State of the County, Westland Mayor Bill Wild, candidate for Wayne County Executive notes that the proposal and State of the County Address raises more questions than answers.
Mayor Wild offers his observations and is available for further comment.
“I appreciate that the county is finally ready to have a serious conversation about balancing the budget however, this is a conversation they should have started in 2008. We faced many of the same issues in Westland and we started not only the conversation but we started making the necessary adjustments so we would not be in a deficit. Today, we have a balanced budget.”
Tax Revenue Loss
We all lost revenue due to a loss of a tax base. Why did it take Wayne County to reach a $353 million loss before they started to think about doing something about it?
On Public Safety
If everyone agrees that public safety is a priority then let’s take a different approach. Perhaps adjustments could be made in the executive budget, which would facilitate funding priorities within the prosecutor and sheriff’s budget. Residents want a visible sheriff’s department. Not just a jailer.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy recently reported that her staff is down by 85 people, which is approaching about half of her staff. Seventy-five of those people are attorneys. She points out that her team is backed up on more than 200 child abuse warrants; 40 homicide warrants; and not-in-custody warrants are backed up almost six weeks. (See Her Comments HERE)
The problems the county faces today are largely a result of mismanagement. The Wayne County administration spent more than $160 million on a downtown jail project before abandoning it and incurring cost overruns in the millions by moving county operations.
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Again, the elimination plan is built on ‘What ifs’ and assumptions. With the Waste Water treatment plant, the devil is in the details. These cities believe they own it already. Do they or don’t they? This is not a clear cut solution or situation.
“They are proposing to reduce some $80 million on the ‘what if’ premise they can actually move the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund Unrestricted Fund Balance into the general fund. What if they can’t? Is it legal? Will this just end up in a long drawn-out court battle? When I became Mayor of Westland in 2007, we inherited a looming deficit. We created a surplus while protecting services and tax payers.”
On Affordable Care Act
The Affordable healthcare act was created for the uninsured not necessarily for municipalities to dump their financial burdens into it. I am not sure this is feasible or legal.
All this is about having the right relationships. A lot of these union issues can be handled by collective bargaining. I am not sure — in an election year — if the county executive has those relationships to pull it off.
The county executive is not the victim here; the tax payers are the victims. It will take true leadership to pick them up and create a comeback county.
Media Contact: Vanessa Denha Garmo, 248.830.8605
“Like many throughout metropolitan Detroit and the entire nation, I continue to be shocked and saddened about the passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Angelo B. Henderson. I had the pleasure of being a guest on his popular WCHB radio show only four weeks ago. His powerful voice and his strong leadership will be greatly missed,” said Westland Mayor Bill Wild who talked to Angelo about the future of Wayne County during a recent interview.
Had a great morning discussing my plans to bring accountability and integrity to the office of CEO on “Hello Detroit with the Rev. Jim Holley” broadcast on The New TV33 WHPR. As you may know, Rev. Holley is pastor of Detroit’s Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, one of the city’s leading congregations.
The Next Wayne County Executive – Bill Wild 2014
There’s Wild Change coming to Wayne County as Bill Wild runs for Wayne County executive, and we would love your support!
Please donate to the Wild For Wayne County Campaign and Show Your Support For Bill Wild