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Wayne County exec says fixing deficit means big changes for employees, retirees

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Wayne County Executive Warren Evans today rolled out afinancial recovery plan he says could save the county's general fund $230 million over the next four years. 

Alternatively, if no action is taken, Evans said the county's deficit could balloon to more than $170 million by 2020.

The plan comes with big cuts for health care and pension plans, which Evans said account for over 70 percent of the County's long term obligations.

Under the proposal, county employees and some retirees would move to high-deductible health care plans, while health coverage for future retirees would be eliminated altogether. Additionally, the minimum retirement age would be raised to 62.

Evans said the cuts are a "shared and equitable sacrifice" from all county employees.

"Our pension system alone is in worse shape than Deroit's [was] pre-bankruptcy," he said. "Our liquidity problems have not been addressed, and we continue to hemorrhage cash."

Other changes under the plan include a 5% wage decrease that excludes police officers, prosecutors and nurses as well as reorganization of several county departments.

"Implementing this plan is an essential step to address the causes of the county's financial crisis," said Evans. "There will be future  challenges ahead to stabilize our financial footing, but this plan will put us in a better financial place to resolve long-term issues."

Evans said without any action, the county will run out of money next year.

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