by Sam Hieb
Long road— Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr urge patience, which probably is in short supply:
Detroit’s struggle, experts say, is particularly dire because it is not limited to a single event or one failed financial deal, like the troubled sewer system largely responsible for Jefferson County’s downfall.
Instead, numerous factors over many years have brought Detroit to this point, including a shrunken tax base but still a huge, 139-square-mile city to maintain; overwhelming health care and pension costs; repeated efforts to manage mounting debts with still more borrowing; annual deficits in the city’s operating budget since 2008; and city services crippled by aged computer systems, poor record-keeping and widespread dysfunction.
Orr says “residents may even start to see improvements in city services, saying that the bankruptcy filing will allow Detroit to use its limited resources to put more police cars and ambulances in service,” but given overwhelming healthcare and pension costs” there seems to be little doubt the city will have to sell assets. Wonder what the odds are the city has more than a few things it doesn’t need. Perhaps stripping a city down to core services will show other cities how it works.