State financial manager should be appointed for Ypsilanti
The City of Ypsilanti is not in financial trouble because of the Charter Township Act. Years ago the city had an opportunity handed to them to annex Ypsilanti Township and refused it.
The City of Ypsilanti is not in financial trouble because of falling property tax revenues, falling state revenue sharing dollars, or Lansing's long failure to fully fund the Act 289 dollars that the city should receive for providing fire protection to EMU - although these factors are making it harder for the current Council to fix the real problem.
The real reason the City of Ypsilanti is in financial trouble is because (former) Mayor Cheryl Farmer and her most reliable vote, (former) Council Member John Gawlas, chose to gamble the city's full faith and credit on a 38-acre redevelopment scheme, while (former) City Manager Ed Koryzno enabled this disaster by completely failing in his fiduciary and ethical duty to protect the city's general fund from such unprecedented risk.
If the city did not have to make million dollar-plus annual payments on the $30 million-plus "Water Street" debt, we would be like most other Michigan communities -- struggling but making things work.
With the Water Street debt, Ypsilanti is nothing more than an insolvent debtor in denial.
No amount of tax increases can pay this debt off and restore financial soundness. The city's own analysis bears this out.
It is time to invite the governor to appoint an emergency manager, and for that emergency manager to request permission to take the city through a GM-style managed municipal bankruptcy.
To wait, or to continue to hold to the Farmer/Gawlas' fantasy math that we can tax our way to prosperity, simply delays the inevitable and will make any future settlement of the debt that much more difficult and expensive for the taxpayers of this town.
Rodney C. Nanney