March 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

Detroit City Council to consider consent agreement with state today


Detroit— The City Council is expected to meet this afternoon to discuss an agreement with the state to restructure Detroit's finances, a day after Gov. Rick Snyder implored city officials to get a deal done by the end of the week.

Council members are expected to go over details on a proposed financial stability agreement at a 4 p.m. meeting at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Council members could not comment on the details because they had not seen the proposal as of Wednesday evening, said Bryan Peckinpaugh, a spokesman for City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown.

The council was expected to go over the document "page by page" at today's meeting.

"Then, depending on progress, City Council will vote on the agreement Friday or Monday," Peckinpaugh said in a email to The News.

Any deal must be approved by Snyder, Mayor Dave Bing, a majority of the council and the state review team that has been examining the city's finances.

A spokeswoman for Bing, who is hospitalized and recovering from intestinal surgery, had no comment Wednesday on the council's scheduled discussion.

News of the council special meeting came as Snyder made two public appearances Wednesday in Metro Detroit to lobby for action on a turnaround plan.

In an interview Wednesday, Snyder said he's growing impatient with progress on an agreement, but added he is not ready to "draw a line in the sand."

"I don't want an emergency manager. I've been pretty clear about that," he said, adding that he would rather not throw down a "gauntlet" because he believes the city and state can work together.

"What I'm very clear on and I think I've been clear from day one is, I was hired by the citizens of Detroit and the citizens of Michigan to make sure they get the best services possible, and they have a bright future," Snyder said. "And I will do my fiduciary duty."

It's not clear what is in the proposal the council will consider today. Under a financial stability deal being negotiated, an appointed advisory board — with the governor, mayor and council each getting some picks — would be created to oversee the city's financial plan.

That plan called for the naming of a chief financial officer and a project manager, both selected jointly by the governor and the mayor, sources close to the discussion have said.

Both officials would report to the mayor, but also would be accountable to state Treasurer Andy Dillon.

On Wednesday, the governor said he is holding town hall meetings and open discussions with Detroiters to quell some of the growing concerns that the state wants to control Detroit.

"Unfortunately there (has) been a lot of history of racial issues and such, and we have to be open and honest about that," he said. "But as a practical matter, a lot of this … is to come together and have a real dialogue."

City leaders have said cash from the state will be necessary to implement the long-term reforms sought by the state. The council Tuesday voted to raise $137 million through a bond sale to help the city through its short-term cash crunch.

But the governor said Wednesday he wants to make sure plans are in place to carry out real reform before the state offers up money to the city.

The state, Snyder noted, is helping the city refinance the bonds that were approved by the council. "I don't view that as insignificant help," he said.

"It's not about more plans and spending money," Snyder said. "It's about action items that make a difference and positive difference in citizens' lives."

Conflict over turning the city around, he said, is not going to encourage anyone to come to Detroit.

"I really care about the city and its citizens here," he said. "And I really want to see it come back."

Earlier in the day, Snyder told a town hall audience his goal is not to run Detroit, but to be "a supportive partner."

Snyder said he wants city leaders to deliver "very specific ideas that have timelines and deliverables."

The governor said he wants to see, for example, proposals for a public lighting authority; a regional transit authority and a lease agreement involving the management of Belle Isle as a state park.

"There isn't a lot of good reason why this wasn't done some time ago," Snyder said. "I'm impatient. As a practical matter, I think the citizens are impatient. They want action."

He echoed his positions at a live broadcast at Farmington Hills-based MIX 92.3 FM with radio host Frankie Darcell on Wednesday evening, saying, "It's time to stop planning and to start acting in a positive, forward-looking, constructive way."

Snyder also put out a call to Detroiters, asking them to be passionate about the city if they want to help it rebound.

"The future of Detroit is growing Detroit," he said.

"It's about Detroiters wanting to stay and be excited about living in Detroit. It's about attracting more people to move into the city and that's the solution here that we need to stay focused on."

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Gov. Rick Snyder Wednesday said he wants city leaders to deliver “very specific ideas that have timelines and deliverables.” / Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News