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After rejecting consent agreement, Lincoln Park gets an emergency manager

Andrew Jameson

Governor Snyder has named Brad Coulter as emergency manager for the city of Lincoln Park.

Coulter will take a leave of absence from his job as a consultant with O’Keefe & Associates, a firm specializing in turnaround restructuring and corporate finance services, to try and balance the downriver Detroit suburb’s books.

Lincoln Park’s mayor and city council asked the Michigan Department of Treasury to review its finances last year.

Lincoln Park Mayor Thomas Karnes says Coulter helped with an evaluation of city finances a few months ago, which eventually led to the state declaring a “financial emergency.”

“He has a good idea of the city, of what’s going on here, and he should have a good idea of all of our finances,” Karnes said of Coulter. “So I think he’s going to hit the ground running.”

The appointment comes after the Lincoln Park City Council rejected a proposed consent agreement with the state.

Karnes says that over the last few years, the city has lost a huge chunk of its tax base to declining property values.

“And with the reduction of revenue sharing we got from the state… all of a sudden, we’re dealing with less than half of our money coming in,” said Karnes.

Lincoln Park had a $4.5 million balance in its general fund in 2010—but an estimated deficit of nearly $1 million by last month.

Karnes said the city has reached concessions with all its unions and cut staff below 100 employees for the first time in city history, but there’s still “more going out than coming in.

“One way or another, we just need to move forward,” Karnes said.

Lincoln Park becomes the 12th Michigan city under some kind of state financial control.

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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