Michigan Radio’s Stateside program host Cynthia Canty interviewed Gov. Rick Snyder about several issues on people’s minds at the Mackinac Policy Conference including the bankruptcy. Here’s a transcript of the Detroit-related section of the discussion:
Cynthia Canty: Let’s go to Detroit. What are you hearing now as you’re on Mackinac, you’re working through the crowds, you’re talking to a lot of people. How much support are you sensing there is for the Grand Bargain and how much resistance?
Gov. Rick Snyder: With the people up her at Mackinac, there’s tremendous support for the Grand Bargain. And I’ve found that in many cases across the state. This is a case where we have to do something really special. If you stop and think about it, the situation I often give people, for many Michiganders, when you talk to somebody out of state, how much of that discussion, the first five or ten minutes, was about people out of state bringing up problems in Detroit before you could talk about what you wanted to talk about? If you think about it, that’s been true most of our lives for many of us. We have a situation by his fall where that part of that discussion could go away. The discussion then can be one about people talking about Detroit’s comeback and about growing Detroit and that’s something that I think has powerful positive impact to every Michigander because I think very often we have lived through that old discussion for far too long.
CC: What kind of impression do you think Mike Duggan made, the mayor Detroit? He was there before the conference, do you think he said what was needed?
RS: I think he gave a good presentation. It was a very pragmatic one with measurements and metrics. I’m a big measurement, metrics person. There were important issue like blight, jobs for young people, emergency response time a number of topics that when you look at the issues in Detroit, a lot of these are the fundamental things. Let’s get the lights on. Let’s get the trash picked up. Let’s get better public safety. Let’s be a safe better city. He addressed those in many way. That’s why, in fact, I made sure I made the point of being in his presentation to listen to it?
CC: Do you think this bankruptcy can be wrapped up before the clock runs out on Kevyn Orr’s term as emergency manager?
RS: I hope so. Again, that’s always been the goal. It’s been a very aggressive timetable but we’ve done well. If you go back and look at over a year ago when the first timetable was set we’re within a couple weeks of that, which I don’t think anybody really expected that. Most people were highly skeptical of that. We’ve gotten a lot of great thing done. We’ll work through this process. The important thing is that we get it resolved because again, I want to see the mayor and City Council running the city of Detroit on their own as soon as possible with some good oversight.
CC: One of the big problems that’s kind of hanging out there is what to do with Detroit’s Water and Sewer Department. What are you thoughts as to the best answer to that problem?
RS: I’ve always contended that I thought it would be good to look a regional authority of some fashion because it’s providing services to the region. I think there was a lot of effort made by Kevyn Orr to get that worked out early on. Those talks were not successful, and I think it’s good that mediators have now been appointed to continue the dialogue. What I would say is all the discussion on water and sewer should not interfere with the Grand Bargain in terms of what the Senate’s looking at We should get the grand bargain done through the Senate and then have ongoing discussion about the best way to do the water system.
CC: You know Brooks Patterson, Oakland county exec, he’s a tough old politician who has seen it all. We also have Macomb County exec Mack Hackel. They both are worried people in their counties are really going to carry the costs of Detroit’s rescue in terms of much higher water rates. Can they be won over?
RS: We’ve been providing them additional information because those aren’t the facts. The facts are that if you look at it, it’s nearly a half billion dollars of savings for rate payers with the current Plan of Adjustment. In fact all that they’re talking about is an acceleration of payments that would already be required by rate payers. So it’s the simple case of if you have a 30-year mortgage or a 10-year mortgage, aren’t you better off with the 10-year mortgage. It might cost you a little bit more in those years but you actually save money so in addition to the half billion dollars it’s actually a better deal for rate payers.