Chief financial officer says Wayne County's money troubles are serious

Mark Abbo says if nothing improves, county could be facing state intervention

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - Wayne County's chief financial officer says something needs to be done about the county's finances or it could be facing a state intervention.

Mark Abbo spoke before the commissioners Tuesday, laying out a "bare bones" deficit elimination plan. The plan, which could be revised several times, calls for cuts to spending and increasing revenues by $750 million.

"More needs to be done ... this is the essence of the plan. We need to do more," Abbo said. "This will affect all aspects of Wayne County. Everybody needs to share in the responsibility."

The plan would sell county waste water treatment plants to an authority, reduce county contributions to employees retirement plans, move employee health care benefits to Obama Care exchanges and reduce staffing in the prosecutor's, sheriff's office and circuit courts.

Also, an overall wage and benefit reduction of five percent across the board for all employees.

The shortfall is just under $200 million.

The plan is the last stop before the state recommends an emergency manager for the county.

"If we don't find a way to do this, there's others that are going to make it happen for us,"  Abbo said.

Wayne County Commissioner Shannon Price, who represents District 10, called the plan "bold."

"It's not going to be easy to get us out of the situation we're in," he said.

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