The ball is now in the Governor’s court, so to speak. The report is not public yet, but the press release is out. It only took the State independent review team 18 calendar days to figure out what everyone knows: Wayne County is in a ‘Financial Emergency’. Here is the money shot from the Michigan Department of Treasury press release:
The team’s extensive report indicates that numerous conditions led to the determination that a financial emergency exists in the county. Those conditions include the following:
- The county’s last four annual financial audits revealed notable variances between General Fund revenues and expenditures as initially budgeted, as amended, and as actually realized. In addition, County officials underestimated actual expenditures in three of the fiscal years by amounts ranging from $16.7 million to $23.7 million.
- County officials engaged in unbudgeted expenditures in violation of Public Act 2 of 1968, the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act.
- Although there was agreement among county officials that existing detention facilities are inadequate, there is no consensus about whether to complete construction on a new jail or to renovate existing facilities.
- According to the county executive’s recovery plan, unfunded healthcare-related liabilities were estimated to be $1.3 billion as of the last actuarial valuation with funding set aside for this purpose of less than one percent of liabilities. Healthcare-related liabilities represent 40 percent of the county’s long-term financial obligations.
The Governor now has 10 days to take one of five actions: do nothing, conduct another ‘neutral’ evaluation, arrange a consent agreement, impose an emergency manager, or file the County for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.