Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And Now The Continuing Metaphorical Trainwreck - The City of Detroit

Not only is the City of Detroit projected to be insolvent by mid-April.

The Detroit News: Detroit is out of time on budget

new budget forecast from the city highlights the fact that it is burning through its cash: Only $76 million was on hand last month, and that number will shrink rapidly over coming weeks. The report, which is posted on the city's website, confirms the city is on track to be $46.8 million in the red at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The forecast shows the city will run out of money in April.

City officials have known this for some time — it's the prediction that first got the governor involved in Detroit's finances last fall. The city anticipates its cash flow to fall this month to $55.9 million, then $42.2 million in March and $2.5 million in April.

If union concessions and other cuts aren't implemented quickly, the projections will come true. Time is almost up for the city to work through these problems on its own. If Bing doesn't reach a compromise immediately, the governor will have no choice but to intervene. He cannot allow the city to continue on its current course.
Part of that collapse was set in motion by the former administration, the fallout of which is still hitting the headlines with even more allegations of bribes, kickbacks and corruption:

Kilpatrick's City Treasurer indicted:
Former City Treasurer Jeff Beasley was accused in a federal indictment Tuesday of accepting cash, golf clubs, gambling money, tickets to Las Vegas shows, massages, limousine rides and free flights in return for approving more than $200 million in pension fund investments.

Many of those deals fizzled, costing the pension funds more than $84 million, money that could have been used to pay for benefits of thousands of retired Detroit municipal employees.

The Detroit Free Press: Feds accused Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, friend Bobby Ferguson of shakedown
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and longtime friend Bobby Ferguson are facing yet another legal battle -- this one involving fresh claims that they shook down a towing contractor for tens of thousands of dollars while Kilpatrick was in office.

Kilpatrick and Ferguson were each hit with a new federal extortion charge Wednesday that accuses them of obtaining more than $90,000 from a towing contractor that was doing business with the Detroit Police Department, according to a second superseding indictment unsealed in federal court.

The situation is so dire that the Detroit Institute of Arts is worried its collection will be sold to cover the cash shortfall. There's also talk of selling off city assets to balance the budget, not to mention the City cannot afford the upkeep on many of these assets in the first place.

Talk about watching a train wreck in slow motion.

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