Wayne County Executive Warren Evans reveals his 2018 vision

Detroit's downtown continues to boom. with growth spreading into neighborhoods like Midtown and New Center.
But the city is just one piece of Wayne County's bigger picture. County Executive Warren Evans opened up about his vision for 2018. 

Evans is resolving to do something he's managed to do the last three years - to have a balanced budget. 

"The first thing, maybe not the sexiest thing is to make sure that fiscally we have balanced budgets and we wind up with surpluses at the end of the year," Evans said. "So that we can take care of people on the pension system back where it ought to be. It's much improved today."

Wayne County, with all 43 communities in it, is getting the books in order. Looking ahead at 2018 requires a look back at 2017 and yes, locked in people's minds is the failed jail project and the attempt to right the wrong there. At this time next year, what does Evans hope to be able to say?

"I'm sure I'm going to say the deal is done, construction will be following (so now) we can get some of the other infrastructure issues that are really important to the county going forward," Evans said. "We need to do something about the civil courthouse (and) we have a lot of infrastructure issues in the county."

And that includes over 300 bridges in Wayne County and don't forget about the roads below those bridges. The infrastructure issue is not unique to Wayne County but it requires some creative ways to divvy up the cash the county has. 

"How we take care of our money and how we spend it, how we get the dollars we need for infrastructure, it's going to be really important for every year going forward," Evans said. "And by the way this is a national issue."

Budget wise more money could be spent on all of that, but a lot of cash is going to a problem that is causing families - not roads - to fall apart, the opioid epidemic. Evans is hoping a lawsuit being filed against certain opioid producers will help.

"If that money was not being used for that I could fix more roads, I could hire more people," Evans said. "Somebody needs to pay for the loss the county suffered here."

Getting people to work in Wayne County through programs that help with training is a priority in 2018. Another bright point of 2018 continuing the work to get the lights on in Detroit. The grids often fall on county land and not the city. Evans is pledging continued cooperation with the city to help.
And finally, another task is Amazon, and trying to get the corporate giant to locate its second headquarters in Wayne County. Even if it doesn't happen, it is mobilized the county and its neighbors to build something big. 

"The ability to get things done between the state and the city and the county is probably at an all-time high," Evans said. "That's what folks bringing jobs here want to be able to do. They want to set up and be able to get it done.”