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Wayne County projects $152 million deficit due to COVID health crisis

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 17:02:39-04

WAYNE CO. (WXYZ) — Wayne County, the largest populated county in the state of Michigan, will likely see a deficit of at least $125 million for the current fiscal year, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans said Tuesday.

The financial strain is due to the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy. Officials say the deficit could amount to more than 20 percent of the county's projected revenues.

“Our main focus remains fighting the coronavirus spread as a public health matter. However, the county’s long-term health requires proactively planning for budget shortfalls created by this pandemic,” Evans said. “I am committed to working with other elected officials and the commission on fiscally-responsible solutions that allow us to continue providing essential services to our residents. Over the past five years, we have put our financial house back in order, but the on-going global pandemic and ‘Stay Home’ orders are putting a tremendous strain on the county’s ability to fund essential services at current levels.”

In response to the shortfall, county officials are working on an updated two-year budget forecast. The county is also looking at ways to restore funding through federal and state aid.

The framework for Wayne County’s post-coronavirus recovery plan includes:

• Tapping funds from the accumulated budget surplus/Rainy Day Fund and possibly the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund;
• Deferring capital expenditures and renegotiating existing leases; and,
• Workforce reductions are a possibility though no current reductions have been identified.

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