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Ecorse financial emergency resolved....BUT......

City of Ecorse

State officials say the financial emergency in the city of Ecorse has been resolved.

Under the direction of emergency manager Joyce Parker, the city's nearly $20 million deficit was eliminated.  Its police and fire departments were merged.   

The city's operating costs were reduced by $4.3 million a year, while its revenues were boosted by $2.3 million. 

And Ecorse's bond rating went from "junk" to "A", with the help of special legislation at the state level.

So, Ecorse's emergency manager is stepping down.  Sort of.

Under PA 436, the state's latest version of its emergency manager law, a Transition Advisory Board, or TAB, will be appointed for Ecorse, and Joyce Parker will be one of the members of that board.

The two other members are Ed Koryzno, Treasury's administrator for the Office of Financial Responsibility, and Rob Bovitz, a CPA and president of Bovitz CPA, P.C.

Parker says the elected leaders of the city have been given a two-year budget, to which they must closely adhere.

Any changes, such as increased spending, sales of city assets, or shifting spending from one city department to another or even within departments, will have to be approved by the board.

And, the board can remain in place indefinitely.  Under the law, although there is no requirement for the appointment of a TAB, there is also no set timeline for the disbanding of a TAB if the state deems it necessary.

Terry Stanton, head of communications for State Treasury, says that aspect of the new law was designed to prevent cities from cycling in and out of emergency management over and over again. 

Flint is currently under the control of its second emergency manager, and Hamtramck is likely to have a second emergency manager appointed soon.

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.