Lincoln Park was officially released from state control yesterday. This marks the first time in 15 years no Michigan city is being run by an emergency manager. Rick Pluta reports.
Lincoln Park has been officially released from state control, marking the first time in 15 years no Michigan city is being run by an emergency manager. There are still three school districts being run by state-appointed managers. But Governor Rick Snyder says this shows emergency managers with sweeping authority are mending municipal finances. “This is a great day, not only for the city of Lincoln Park, but for the entire state of Michigan,” Snyder said in a prepared statement.
The Snyder administration named Brad Coulter to run Lincoln Park 16 months ago. “The goal in any of these emergency manager appointments is to really get in, fix the problems, and then transition back to local control,” said Coulter. “I’m happy to say my time there has been a success, and I think the city’s in good hands with a city manager that’s taking over and a city council that I believe knows its responsibilities for managing the city.” Lincoln Park had a million-dollar deficit when it was placed under state control.
But local government officials say a lot of municipalities are still on the bubble. “To somehow declare victory a couple days before Christmas -- I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but to declare victory on municipal finance is premature,” said Dan Gilmartin of the Michigan Municipal League. Gilmartin says emergency management papered over structural problems, especially a pattern of under-funding from the state.