Executive Warren Evans vows cuts to get Wayne County out of debt

Wayne County is deep in debt and major cuts are coming soon.

Wayne County Chief Executive Warren Evans says something has to be done to fix the enormous county debt. 

"We're robbing peter to pay paul," Evans said. "That's not the way to budget and that is no way to run a county."

"This is a top down way to get at a $52 million dollar structural deficit which means it happens every year."

And Evans says it did not happen overnight.

"We got here because of significant loss in property taxes," Evans said. 

Now everyone must help the county repair this budget. It's called shared sacrifices and Evans says part of the plan calls for modifying health care benefits.

"We have to eliminate healthcare for future retirees," Evans said. "We're going to move to eliminate healthcare for future retirees have have high deductible plans for most employees and some retirees."

"Future pension benefits have to be reduced."

Evans says he's discussed the plan with stakeholders including union leaders but one union president says changes are needed.

"Frankly we thought plan needs to embrace all the stakeholders, taxpayers, residents," said Albert Garrett of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "As well as vendors doing business with the county of Wayne. 

"We are reviewing the plan  and coming up with additional ideas."

Evans says his plan can save the county $230 million over the next four years.

And he says one thing is for sure whether it's his plan or someone else's, the fix is coming.

"It's going to go to the next level, whether it's an emergency manager or bankruptcy," Evans said. "It's going to get fixed."

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