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Lawmakers consider dissolving Detroit

Published time: November 29, 2012 18:49
Edited time: November 29, 2012 22:49
Downtown Detroit is seen along Woodward Ave in Detroit.(Reuters / Rebecca Cook)

Downtown Detroit is seen along Woodward Ave in Detroit.(Reuters / Rebecca Cook)

With Detroit set to go bankrupt by mid-December, one state legislator has suggested that Michigan’s largest city should be dissolved as a municipality and merge with a neighboring county.

State officials have come up with numerous farfetched ideas as to how to confront the fiscal situation, with some suggesting Detroit to vote itself into bankruptcy and others preparing to temporarily lay off nearly all city workers to compensate for the financial losses.

State Senator Rick Jones has emphasized that all options should be considered, including dissolving the city of 700,000 residents and merging it with neighboring Wayne County.

“If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at,” he told WWJ Lansing, an affiliate of CBS News. “We really have to look at everything that is on the table. Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”

Out of desperation to solve the dire situation, even Gov. Rick Snyder said he wouldn’t count anything out. Jones said lawmakers outside of the City Council have grown frustrated with the lack of action from the Council and the delayed implementation of the financial consent agreement that was delayed in April.

Many have blamed Detroit’s mayor, Dave Bing, for this delay. In order to release a $30 million deal, Bing needed to propose a financial advisor to the City Council.  But Bing only provided one option – the Miller Canfield Law Firm, whose history suggests a conflict of interest in the security and stability of Detroit. The Council was therefore forced toreject the deal.

“If the City Council doesn’t come to their senses and start working with the mayor and the governor for solutions, we have to explore every option,” Jones said.

“I would be willing to consider dissolving the city, if that’s what it took,” he added.

Many have ridiculed the senator for this proposition and even Jones believes the scenario to be unlikely. But the consideration shows how desperate city and state officials are to prevent financial catastrophe. With only two weeks left before Detroit is set to run out of money, lawmakers are desperately trying to come up with a solution before the holidays, leaving every option on the table.

“With every step we get more and more fearful,” said Detroit’s ex-communications chief Karen Dumas.

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