Mackinac Policy Conference: Snyder highlights Detroit, a bit

Mackinac Policy Conference: Snyder highlights Detroit, a bit

Gov. Rick Snyder gave an official welcome at the Mackinac Policy Conference today in an early afternoon address that reviewed examples of the conference’s three themes – impact, entrepreneurship and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education — in action around the state.

After his formal remarks, he met with media on the porch of the Grand Hotel where he was asked about developments related to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in the city’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. The Detroit News reported:

Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday state lawmakers should not attempt to mix future control of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department with $195 million in state aid needed to bolster municipal pensions and help settle the city’s bankruptcy. As part of its debt-cutting plan, Detroit is proposing forcing the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to make $428.5 million in accelerated payments toward the General Retirement System, or $47.6 million annually. “There’s a lot of good discussion that can happen on water and sewer, but it shouldn’t interfere with the grand bargain in my view,” Snyder told reporters at the Mackinac Policy Conference. “This is the right thing to do; let’s get this package done. And then I’m happy to have separate dialogue on water and sewer.”

Here’s what he said specifically about Detroit during his formal remarks:

“I’d like to thank Live Midtown for their great work, Midtown Detroit, Wayne State, Henry Ford, the DMC all coming together to say, ‘let’s encourage people to live downtown.’ Occupancy is over 98 percent in Midtown and downtown Detroit. It’s an environment where young people are striving to live there, and we need more housing. That’s impact folks.”

“We’re not done with the grand bargain for Detroit. We got it through the House, we need to get it through the Senate. I hope that’s a great opportunity to talk to your senator. … Think about impact in our lifetime, to actually say, ‘We can get the financial affairs of the City of Detroit reconciled, trying to come up with a constructive solution in a very difficult time for a lot retirees.’ … We’re not talking about the city of Detroit going downhill anymore. We can all get on the same page and say, ‘Let’s talk about the growth of Detroit.’ Isn’t that something we should all aspire to? … The comeback of Detroit is critical to the comeback of Michigan. For Michigan to be a great state again, we need and we will get Detroit on the path to be a great city again.”