Will It Be The Thrill Of Victory Or The Agony Of Defeat For Kevyn Orr and Detroit?
Jeff Wattrick, Deadline Detroit
“This is the Olympics of restructuring” -Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s New Emergency Financial Manager
For many of Detroit’s 312 years of existence, it’s official motto has been “We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes”
However, for the better part of a decade the city operated under a Bob Dylan-coined maxim: You always said people don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient and then they repent. And I always said hang on to me, baby, and let’s hope the roof stays on.
Yeah, that didn’t work. Detroit’s roof is presently sitting in the living room. And it’s raining.
The numbers that tell the story of Detroit’s financial mess are staggering. $14 billion in long-term debt (or a mere $8 billion, if you want to subtract the water department’s separately funded obligations); an accumulated deficit of over $300 million that but for long-term borrowing would be more than $900 million; $474 million in fees paid to Wall Street; and 237,493 fewer residents than a decade ago.
City government is in dire straits. That’s acknowledged by all but the most delusional apologists for the status quo.
“It’s bad. It’s very bad, let’s be more blunt,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “You look at the deficit of the city, the only reason it’s not $900 and some million is because there’s some $600 million that was borrowed in debt in the last few years. That’s not a sustainable situation.”
Support local investigative journalism like you see at the Deadline Detroit. Jeff Wattrick is one of Detroit’s most promising young journalists and his columns for Wonkette are witty and are a cross between South Park, The Simpsons and Mark Twain. -Steve