Community leaders react to decision that Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

(WXYZ) - Leaders from around the metro Detroit area are reacting to the decision by Judge Steven Rhodes that detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Read their statements below:

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr

We are pleased with Judge Rhodes' decision today, and we will continue to press ahead with the ongoing revitalization of Detroit.  We look forward to working with all our creditors – pension funds, unions and lenders – to achieve a consensual agreement on a restructuring plan that balances their financial recoveries with the very real needs of the 700,000 citizens of Detroit.

We are making good progress.  In addition to today's important decision, Detroit has transferred its electric operations and customers to DTE Energy and begun a program to improve City lighting. It has announced plans to privatize trash collection that will save $6 million a year while improving services and adding curbside recycling. It has invested in sorely needed equipment for its police, fire and other first responders.  The City also has arranged, pending a court hearing later this month, $350 million of post-petition financing to improve its financial condition, lessen some of its debt obligations, and make much-needed investments. The City is also committed to the federal mediation already underway aimed at resolving disputes with its creditors and we fully support U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen's efforts to find additive solutions, particularly from the philanthropic community, to the City's financial issues.

Time is of the essence and we will continue to move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.  We plan to submit a Plan of Adjustment in the coming weeks, file a Disclosure Statement early next year and work to exit Chapter 9 protection by the end of September.  We hope all parties will work together to help us develop a realistic restructuring plan that improves the financial condition of Detroit and the lives of its 700,000 citizens.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Today, the federal court allowed Detroit to stay on the path toward a brighter future.  A future where streetlights work and ambulances respond quickly. A future where crime and blight shrink, and where jobs and investments surge.

Authorizing the emergency manager to seek federal bankruptcy protection was a difficult decision, but it was the last viable option to restore the city and provide Detroit's 700,000 residents with the public services they need and deserve.

Judge Rhodes' ruling today affirms that decision.

We need to recognize that this decision is a call to action. We are confronting fiscal realities that have been ignored for too long. Today's decision will allow Detroit to regain its financial footing and spark investments in key areas that will improve the quality of life for all residents and encourage growth and investment.

We know that Detroit's comeback is already in motion. We've seen the revitalization in downtown and midtown. Now, with our partners in the city and beyond, we will correct the municipal problems that were decades in the making and ensure strong, thriving neighborhoods.

There will be other difficult decisions as we work through this process. But Michigan and Detroit are resilient and are the comeback stories in the country. Working together we can and will make sure that reinvention happens.

Detroit Mayor-elect Mike Duggan

This is a day in Detroit's history that none of us wanted to see.  Now that Judge Rhodes has ruled the city eligible for bankruptcy, we are about to move into the Plan of Adjustment phase that is likely to define our city government for years to come.

I'm going to do everything I can to advocate on behalf of Detroit's future in this process.  We need to make sure the retirees are treated fairly on the pensions they earned and we need to make certain we come out of bankruptcy in a way we can afford to provide the quality of city services the people of Detroit deserve.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano

The ruling from Judge Rhodes was not unexpected. We are hopeful today's decision will improve the quality of life for residents of the city. It is imperative that future negotiations and court proceedings will be protective of worker pensions and not hurt those who served the city and continue to serve the city.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson

The declaration of Detroit's eligibility to file bankruptcy was a foregone conclusion. Anybody who has watched Detroit closely knows it is insolvent. This is just the official imprimatur.

Today's ruling marks the beginning of a long and arduous process. In the end I feel genuine remorse for all the creditors who will be left holding the bag. Nobody said, however, the process is fair. Whatever impact it has on Oakland County, it will be negligible to what Detroit will endure in the months ahead.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills)

The success of Michigan depends on the success of Detroit, and I look forward to supporting the city restructuring in a way that leads to sustainable prosperity. However, I disagree with the judge allowing innocent retirees to pay to protect Wall Street bond holders, and I hope he lives up to his promise to only approve a plan of adjustment that is fair and equitable.

State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit)

This day is the result of decades of population loss and declining revenue," Santana said. "A debt of $18 billion dollars is a monster number to wrestle into submission. What we have to do is continue to come up with short- and long-term solutions to Detroit's financial disaster.

As a Detroit lawmaker, I am committed to continuing my working relationship with Republicans to find solutions for Detroit in a bipartisan fashion. My hope is that we can place the quality of life for those residents who have decided to stay first throughout this process. Public safety and abandoned homes must be a top priority.

Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP

We continue to believe that more positive alternatives could have been implemented rather than a rush to bankruptcy accompanied by a rush to end democracy. Even Judge Rhodes agrees with us that the City did not negotiate in good faith.  This is critical in understanding the consequences which has led to the erosion of the right to vote in the affected communities.  The City of Detroit and other communities around the state should not be placed at a constitutional disadvantage which takes away their fundamental voting rights. We will continue our appeal of PA 436 and its negative impact on Detroit and other cities across the state of Michigan.


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