Emergency Manager in Ecorse says city ready to transition back to traditional leadership

EM Joyce Parker: 'My work here is complete'

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ECORSE, Mich. - Ecorse Emergency Financial Manager Joyce Parker announced Wednesday that for the second year in a row the city has a positive balance in the general fund.

Parker says this is the latest step in the city's move back to traditional governance.

The $2,419,220 fund balance was revealed through an audit that was completed at the end of December.

The audit, showed that the city's total operating expenses came in under budget by approximately $370,000.

"Of course we're happy with the findings, but the most important outcome is returning Ecorse to fiscal stability for the long term," Parker said.

Parker was appointed emergency manager in 2009.

Watch: Ecorse councilwoman connected to illegal after-hours club.

Since than the city has consolidated police and fire services, consolidated court services with Lincoln Park and River Rouge for an expanded the 25th District Court, shifting some contractual work in-house, and securing a special assessment to cover police and fire operations.

Other measures that helped the city's finances included the issuance of bonds in 2011 to pay off the city's outstanding judgments; the elimination of positions and a charge-off of an aged receivable.

The city developed a 2-year budget with revenues exceeding expenditures through the summer of 2014.

The city's bond rating went from junk status in 2009 to an 'A' rating in 2011.

"To a great extent, my work here is complete—work that was done with incredible collaboration from administrators, residents, business owners and other community partners," Parker said.

John Openlander was named the city administrator in Nov and is handling the city's day-to-day operations, while Parker helps with policy issues. 

The city is moving to the next phase of financial emergency status where power and responsibility is restored to elected officials with state oversight.

Read: Lawsuit claims Michigan's emergency manager law is 'dead'

The council must approve an agreement with the state that would put a transition team in place.

"My role is to assist the mayor and council in maintaining financial stability while working to stabilize and rejuvenate our neighborhoods and business districts," Openlander said.

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