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State begins reviewing Wayne County's finances today

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Treasury started reviewing Wayne County’s financial situation Friday.

The state review comes after Wayne County’s top administrator asked for it, earlier this week.

In a letter to the state, County executive Warren Evans wrote this week the deficit is $9.9 million. 

But that number includes transferring money from the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund. 

The structural deficit is $52 million.

In the letter, he warns the deficit will rise to more than $171 million in four years if nothing is done to fix it.

He wants to enter into a consent agreement with the state. That could give the county more time and state support to address a financial emergency, assuming a review team finds it exists. The process could take at least a couple of months, but the preliminary review should be complete in the next thirty days.

The state currently has consent agreements with public school districts in Benton Harbor and Pontiac, and the municipalities of River Rouge, Inkster, and Royal Oak Township.

Wayne County is the first Michigan county to get a preliminary review under Public Act 436, commonly known as the state's emergency manager law.

Wayne is Michigan's most populous county, with about 1.7 million residents.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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