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Wayne County getting much-needed cash from its treasurer; report finds he owes more

via Wayne County

Struggling Wayne County will get a much-needed cash infusion, thanks to its own treasurer’s office—and the county’s auditor general thinks it should get even more.

Michigan’s largest county is in major financial trouble, running a deficit of at least $175 million and growing.

The state recently approved a deficit-elimination plan that includes steep cuts and possible asset sales. And there’s been lots of speculation about a possible emergency manager coming down the road.

But a cash transfer from Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’s office should go a long way toward easing the crisis, at least in the short term.

The treasurer's office had amassed at least $200 million in fees and other dollars collected as part of its delinquent tax revolving fund, which loans money to local governments who need it while they try to collect back taxes.

Wojtowicz had already agreed to hand $82 million over to the county’s general fund as part of the deficit-elimination plan. He recently upped that to at least $150 million.

The increase comes as Wayne County’s auditor general is set to discuss a report that found Wojtowicz has been withholding too much of that money—and may be sitting on even more that rightfully belongs in the general fund.

Wojtowicz’s office insists the audit’s findings are flat-out wrong, and the report had nothing to do with the treasurer’s decision to hand over more money.

Officials plan to discuss the audit findings, and what this all means for Wayne County’s bottom line, at a County Commission committee meeting on Wednesday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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