Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a new report about the city's crumbling financial condition is consistent with his administration's findings.
"Him (Kevyn Orr) and I are on the same page," Bing said on Monday. "Although we may differ in some of our figures, the end result is still the same — our city is in a dire financial situation."
The report was released late Sunday by bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr and is Orr's first on Detroit's finances since officially taking the job in March.
"Just as I indicated in my budget address last month, the City’s accumulated operating deficit is expected to reach nearly $380 million by the end of the fiscal year -- which is next month. The E.M.’s report acknowledges that same amount and adds that without the 2010 sale of $250 million in Fiscal Stabilization bonds, the deficit would be more than $600 million," said Bing.
"We can't cut our way to prosperity, at some point we need to stop talking about cutting and start talking about growth," said Bing when asked about whether more cuts were coming to city employees. "It is encouraging to know that he and I are on the same page. He is highlighting and focusing on the same initiatives that my administration has already begun to make progress on: public safety, transportation, lighting, blight and recreation."
Bing said in a statement Monday that a complete and comprehensive evaluation of Orr's report is planned over the next day, and he's reserving further comment until that time.
"It is important to note that the E.M. presented a report on the City’s current condition and not a plan with detailed solutions. The two of us agree on the end result: We must balance our books while continuing to provide the essential services that our residents need and deserve," said Bing.
Report: Detroit's finances crumbling; future bleak
Under state law, the report was due within 45 days of Michigan's newest emergency manager law taking effect.
Orr's spokesman Bill Nowling had warned last week that the report was an early look at Detroit's fiscal condition and would not be glowing.
The summation is the latest blow to the city which came under state oversight in March when Gov. Rick Snyder selected Orr to handle Detroit's finances. Then, the city estimated its budget deficit to be about $327 million. Detroit also has struggled over the past year with cash flow, relying on bond money held by the state to pay some of its bills.
READ: Orr's report
But Orr reports that Detroit's net cash position was negative $162 million as of April 26 and that the projected budget deficit is expected to reach $386 million in less than two months.
He also warns that the city's financial health might change as more data is collected and analyzed.
"What is clear, however, is that continuing along the current path is an ill-advised and unacceptable course of action if the city is to be put on the path to a sustainable future."
Detroit is the largest city in the country under state control and the city's wallet is now Orr's to command. He dictates how Detroit spends its money, something that had been the responsibility of first-term Mayor Dave Bing and the nine-member City Council.
In a statement Monday morning, Bing said his office plans a "comprehensive evaluation" of the report over the next day.
"A comprehensive review of the emergency manager's financial and operating plan has yet to be conducted," Bing said. "However, my initial review is that the assessment by Mr. Orr of the city's financial condition is consistent with my administration's findings."
The city's problems preceded Bing, a former steel supply company owner and professional basketball Hall-of-Famer.
"This has been a moving target. The historical numbers that have been reported were unreliable," bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein said. "Certainly, nobody was going to expect the numbers were to be better than were reported."
Orr described the city's operations as "dysfunctional and wasteful after years of budgetary restrictions, mismanagement, crippling operational practices and, in some cases, indifference or corruption."
"Outdated policies, work practices, procedures and systems must be improved consistent with best practices of 21st century government," he said in the report. "A well run city will promote cost savings and better customer service and will encourage private investment and a return of residents."
The report also looked at attempts officials have made to fix problems.