Rep. Hansen Clarke to Pursue Federal Grant for Detroit

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Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich., made the news Thursday by announcing he will introduce legislation next week to set aside funds for a federal grant for Detroit, according to MLive. The grant would be used to help the city get rid of some of its long-term debt.

Clarke has reportedly asked Gov. Rick Snyder to delay a pending decision on whether to appoint an emergency financial manager to take over the city's operations while he goes through the legislative process. The state-appointed review team looking over the city's financial situation is due to give its recommendations to the governor by March 28.

Here are some of the details surrounding Clarke's proposed legislation.

* Gov. Snyder and state Treasurer Andy Dillon sent a consent agreement to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Tuesday for review. A consent agreement would allow the city to avoid having an emergency financial manager while still making Detroit and its government responsible to the state for its actions.

* Bing and the City Council have vehemently opposed Dillon's proposed consent agreement and are reportedly working on an alternative plan, according to the Associated Press.

* The biggest matter of contention is the proposal to create a nine-member panel that would oversee all of the city's financial matters. The panel would largely be a mix of appointees chosen by Dillon and from a list of choices dictated by the governor.

* The review team has delayed action until next week as Bing and city leaders draft an alternative proposal.

* Clarke said Thursday he has not determined how much of a federal grant he is seeking, but that it will be large enough to get rid of the city's long-term debt. According to MLive, Snyder has said through spokeswoman Geralyn Lasher that he does not believe a grant will help the city in the long run.

* Clarke has also acknowledged his proposal is "a long shot" but needs to be pursued.

* If his proposal is approved, Clarke has said the money would have to be distributed through "strict federal administration of the funds," as he believes Detroit has not shown it handles financial matters properly, according to the Detroit Free Press.

* Clarke pointed out the financial panel that was put into place in New York City briefly in the 1970s also had the benefit of federal aid to help make its restructuring efforts successful. The panel proposed for Detroit by Snyder and Dillon is reportedly modeled after the New York board, according to Michigan Radio.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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