Continue the Financial Progress in Wayne County
Before Commissioner Barone took office, the number one issue for Wayne County had been to successfully emerge from the state declared financial emergency in 2015. Over the past three years, we have made great strides in righting the financial ship. Since 2015, Wayne County has eliminated our $52 million structural deficit as well as our $82 million accumulated deficit. Additionally, we have reduced unfunded financial obligations by $1 billion and are now on a course to once again have a financially stable Wayne County. Under guidance from Wayne County CEO Warren Evans and the Commission, Wayne County has produced consecutive budget surpluses. Here are some quotes of our current leaders about the remarkable turnaround seen in Wayne County in recent years:
“All these straight balanced budgets and now what everybody’s talking about is Wayne County is one of the best run governments anywhere in the state.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
“It is undisputed that great progress has been made and is still occurring today.”
Wayne County Commission Chair Gary Woronchak
Wayne County Jail
Finish the Jail
The unfinished jail at Gratiot and I-375 has been a thorn in the side of our residents for far too long. The project began in 2011 and work was halted 2 years later when it became apparent that the costs of the project far exceeded the original projections. After having already sunk $150 million into the stalled project, criminal investigations and lawsuits ensued. Through this whole fiasco, two things are certain: 1) the need to replace the existing aging facilities, one built in 1929 and the other in 1981; and 2) the absolute guarantee that the costs of the project are under control.
In late April, businessmen Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores expressed an interest in building a stadium at the current site for a professional soccer franchise. This proposal to move the jail to another location is intriguing. To an extent, there is definitely an argument that the proposed jail site on Gratiot is better utilized as a sports venue rather than a jail. However, I am adamant that any proposed location change not cost our taxpayers anymore money than it would to finish the jail at its current location. So far, there have been no proposal that would accomplish this goal.
The county has since taken steps toward eventually restarting construction at the current location. In July, the Wayne County Commission approved the settlement of a lawsuit against the original engineer and engaged the services of Carter Goble Associates as owner’s representative for the county. CGA, which has extensive experience building jails, will create a new request for proposal (RFP) for developers to resume the project.
Continuing the push for road repair and reconstruction
Needed Repairs in District 10
Road repairs were again in full swing this construction season. In addition to many asphalt resurfacing projects on major roads, our residents saw road crews doing resurfacing and repairs in their neighborhoods as part of the township road initiative. Major projects included the repair of Canton Center Rd. from Ford to Warren and from Michigan to Geddes. Other major projects included the completion of Cherry Hill from Beck to Canton Center, Lotz from Cherry Hill to Michigan Ave., and milling and resurfacing of Geddes from the county line to Denton.
Future projects include resurfacing existing asphalt on Warren from Beck to Canton Center and the completion of paving on Ridge from Ford to Warren.
We are also eagerly awaiting the installation of a traffic signal at Ann Arbor Rd. and McClumpha where state and county roads intersect.