Latest Detroit agreement includes new project manager- mayor

March 29 Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:35pm EDT

March 29 (Reuters) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said Thursday that a new agreement with the state of Michigan will lead to the creation of a financial advisory board and the appointment of a new "project manager" in exchange for elected officials to continue running the city.

The advisory board and project manager are to report to Bing, potentially solving one of the hot buttons in the state's ongoing attempt to help the city dig out of a deep financial hole. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has in the past suggested appointing an emergency financial manager or a panel of advisers who would have final say in city operations.

In a statement issued about an hour before Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis was scheduled to outline details of a new draft financial plan for the city council, Bing softened the rhetoric by saying the city has crafted a "partnership" with state officials. He called the new plan a "landmark agreement."

The plan outlines specific support the state will lend Detroit. The lighting department, transportation department and income tax collection are three areas Bing highlighted in the brief statement.

Specific details were expected to be released during the city council meeting slated for late afternoon.

Bing and Snyder have been discussing a rescue plan for Detroit since late last year, when it became apparent the city was quickly running out of money. In recent weeks, the issue has grown tense as Bing and other city leaders have accused Snyder's administration of seeking to wrestle too much power from elected city officials.

Among key components of the new plan, according to Bing, is a financial advisory board that will advise the mayor on yearly revenue targets, which have often been widely overestimated in recent decades. The city will also be required to adopt a three-year budget instead of a 12-month budget.

Bing said this new plan - which has been commonly referred to as a so-called consent agreement between Detroit and state officials - "was jointly developed by the mayor's office, the city council and the State of Michigan."

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