Michigan Treasurer said the cities can succeed unaided. State oversight boards abolished, full local control re-established.

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Officials from the Michigan Department of Treasury announced Tuesday that Lincoln Park and Pontiac have been released from financial receivership and will regain control of operations and finances immediately. 

Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri said the Receivership Transition Advisory Board for each city recommended the termination of the receivership under the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act. 

Pontiac declared a financial emergency in 2009. Under three emergency city managers, the city dramatically cut expenses, cut its workforce from 500 to 30, and either blended or did away with some departments. It eliminated its police and fire departments, and contracted for services from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and Waterford Township.

Pontiac  restored power to its elected mayor and City Council in March 2016. The Pontiac board remained in force after holding meetings, approving the city's budget, handling litigation and retiree health insurance issues. 

The release from financial receivership gives city leaders full control of  operations and finances. The cities also will be able to approve council resolutions and ordinances without state oversight.

Both state-oversight boards have been disabled. The Lincoln Park transition board was created in December 2015 after Emergency Manager Brad Coulter announced that the city was no longer in a chronic fiscal crisis.  Gov. Rick Snyder appointed the board for a smooth transition. 

“Today marks an important achievement for Lincoln Park residents, the city and all who have contributed to moving the city back to a path of fiscal stability,” Khouri said in a statement. “As the community has shown, it can succeed unaided. I am pleased to say the city is released from receivership.” 

Pontiac District 2 Councilman Don Woodward called the move out of receivership “a long journey.”

“All four years I’ve been in office we’ve been trying to get rid of (the board) and I see a good progress coming,” said  Woodward.

Snyder  said both cities  made great economic progress in the last decade. 

“Under the guidance of the RTABs, both Lincoln Park and Pontiac have made significant progress to right their finances and build solid, fiscal foundations for their communities,” Snyder said. “This is a great achievement for the cities and demonstrates that through collaboration and focusing on economic development, this system can work to ensure a more stable, prosperous future and better quality of life for all Michiganders.”

srahal@detroitnews.com

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