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Wayne County has its first general fund surplus in 8 years

city of Detroit skyline
James Marvin Phelps
A group of Native Americans

Following extensive efforts to improve its financial standing, Wayne County has a budget surplus for the first time in eight years.

The office of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement Tuesday that for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015 the county had an available general fund surplus of $5.7 million.

“Having a surplus for the first time in eight years is a significant achievement when you consider the financial challenges we faced just over a year ago,” said Evans in today's press release. “Despite reaching this milestone my administration will continue to practice the fiscal prudence to ensure we can complete the Gratiot jail, reduce our outstanding liabilities and repair our outdated facilities.” 

In December, the county announced it had wiped out an accumulated deficit of more than $82 million. A review found that for the 2015 fiscal year it had a $35.7 million unassigned surplus, but $30 million of that was earmarked for specific uses.

Gov. Rick Snyder confirmed last summer that a financial emergency existed in the county. Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the county entered into a consent agreement with the state on Aug. 21, 2015, to fix its finances. At the time, the projected deficit was $171 million by 2019. 

This same consent agreement, as reported by Robert Snell of Crain’s Detroit Business,gave Wayne County the flexibility to negotiate major changes to labor contracts, cut employee compensation, and balance the county’s $1.5 billion budget.