Wayne County's debt elimination plan presented to officials

Wayne County's debt elimination plan presented to officials

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WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - "This plan, whatever the county has in store, needs to be embraced by everybody or, at least, it needs to be adjusted so that everybody's needs are met," says Tracey Schultz Kobylarz, Conference of Western Wayne Vice Chairperson.

More than a dozen mayors and supervisors from all around western Wayne County gathered Friday to learn about the $175 million deficit and how it affects them from the man who helped come up with the plan to bail them all out, Wayne County's Chief Financial Officer Mark Abbo.

"Everybody has to take responsibility for righting the ship and making Wayne County healthy again," he says.

Wayne County blames the growing debt on a recession that's hit the area especially hard, combined with fewer people now living and moving to the area and declining property values.

Abo hopes by transferring equity from the delinquent tax revolving fund, reorganizing the waste water treatment facilities, along with changes to pension funding and cuts to what are considered some lower priority services in both the sheriff's office and prosecutor's office will put the county on the right path.

"We're not trying to be Draconian in any way. We want to be sympathetic to what their issues are, and we're trying to balance it out as best we can," Abbo says.

He describes the plan as a fluid document, something that has and can be revised as needed. It's a work in progress that has still has several hurdles to overcome before it's a done deal.

Friday's get together an opportunity to get everyone on the same page.

"We all have to work together. If we don't we're all going to fail," says Schultz Kobylarz.

Before this plan can go forward it needs to be approved by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners as well as the state. The Board of Commissioners could vote on the issue in the next couple of weeks, or possibly sometime in May.

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