Detroit to get $20 million after meeting reform goals-officials

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:28pm EST

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Jan 25 (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Detroit will get $20 million from the state of Michigan after substantially meeting goals aimed at restructuring the city's sagging finances, city and state officials said on Friday.

Mayor Dave Bing said an agreement was reached with Michigan to release the money, which was raised in a bond issue last year, from an escrow account held by the state.

"The release of these funds will occur at my discretion," Bing added in a statement.

Terry Stanton, a spokesman for Michigan's Treasury Department, said while the city is substantially in compliance with conditions the state set with Bing in November, the state has not yet received a request for the money.

"If and when the city submits a draw request for funds, we would begin the process of sending the funds to the city," he said.

Since November, a majority of the nine-member city council has gradually approved the series of goals or conditions, including the hiring of companies to work on reform, restructuring and legal matters, in an effort to stave off a state takeover of the city.

In December, the state released $10 million of the bond proceeds tied to the so-called milestone agreement after the council dropped its opposition to the hiring of law firm Miller Canfield to work on issues related to a 2012 consent agreement that gave the state some oversight of Detroit's finances.

Despite action by the city council, the state also launched a review last month of the city that could culminate in the appointment of an emergency financial manager, who could recommend Detroit file for bankruptcy.

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