Tim Herman, CEO
I was in a meeting the other day and someone said, “Tim, do you think the city of Flint will file for bankruptcy?” This was shortly after Kevin Orr, the emergency manager for Detroit announced that the city had filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
In response, I said I didn’t see a need for it… that it is not the best solution for the city or any of its surrounding communities. Why? Because there is a solid plan that is being executed.
The city has a balanced budget for 2014. Mike Brown, the emergency manager for Flint and his leadership team are working effectively on a roadmap to long-term solvency.
Over the past two years, there’s been over $300 million invested in the Flint and Genesee County community and just under 3,000 jobs created and retained. The stigma of a bankruptcy could negatively impact our ability to attract new businesses.
We have a collaborative environment. The emergency manager, mayor, city administrator, Flint City Council, Genesee County and the business community are working together to move the city forward. The business community steps up when they are asked for resources – including many of the Chamber’s board members. We also have a shared services initiative that is leading the city/county to become more collaborative and efficient… and in some cases helps to reduce costs through shared service agreements.
Through Uptown Reinvestment Corporation and our many partners, we are making major strides in the redevelopment of downtown Flint. More than 5,000 people live and work in the area; and more than 30,000 students regularly attend nearby colleges and universities in the area. Currently, the URC and its partners are working on a $30 million redevelopment plan for a health and wellness district that will bring more jobs and broaden the tax base.
Lastly, bankruptcy can costs millions in legal and financial attorney fees putting a burden on the city’s finances.
Bankruptcy is not a viable option for Flint.