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Flint's new emergency manager says city does, in fact, need an EM

City of Flint

Flint's new emergency financial manager disagrees -- strongly -- with recent assertions by the city council's president that Flint doesn't need an emergency financial manager anymore. ?

Ed Kurtz was Flint's Emergency Financial Manager a decade ago. He says the city is in much worse shape than the first time he was in charge.

The city has $19 million  of debt, and nearly $1.5 billion in underfunded pension and retiree health care costs.

And outgoing Emergency Manager Mike Brown just completed a new budget that could - if the city doesn't overspend - keep Flint from going deeper in debt in the next year.

Kurtz says it's too soon to put the elected Mayor and City Council back in charge.

"From my perspective, I haven't seen any evidence since I left the last time that they're able to live with a budget," he told Michigan Radio.

Kurtz says he understands why people are upset about Brown's decision to sell the long-vacant, city-owned Genesee Towers, for a dollar, to a group that will tear it down.

Monday morning, activists unfurled a protest banner from the building that read, "Cost, $9 million in taxes - SOLD $1.00 - but nobody asked US......"

But Kurtz says nobody was willing to take over the building a decade ago, and its condition has only worsened.

"It's just a liability," he says.  "It's falling down a piece at a time."

The city will also kick in about $750,000 in HUD money to help with demolition costs.

Uptown Reinvestment will pay the remainder of the demolition costs - that will be about $3.25 million more.

The company will redevelop the property after the building is gone.



Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.