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Gov. Snyder: Financial Emergency Ending In Pontiac

PONTIAC (AP) - The financial emergency in Pontiac is nearing an end with the appointment of a transition board to move the city from state control back to elected self-government, Gov. Rick Snyder announced Monday.

"I'm pleased to see Pontiac emerge as a financially stable city and return to local control," Snyder said in a statement. He said the transition board "will be working cooperatively with local leaders to ensure continued stability and growth on the path ahead as well as improved services to the city's residents."

Pontiac emergency manager Lou Schimmel notified the governor Friday that the city of 60,000 was ready to leave state supervision, where it's been since 2009.   Among the measures that Schimmel credited with stabilizing Pontiac's finances included creating a single benefits program for city employees, in place of the 87 when he took over; selling excess capacity in Pontiac's sewage treatment plant to Oakland County for $55 million; cutting fire expenses by $3.6 million a year through a merger with neighboring Waterford Township; and saving $2.2 million a year through contracting with the sheriff's department for police services.

Schimmel said he saved a total of $30 million from measures that included eliminating defined benefit pension programs, consolidating and streamlining departments and eliminating money-losing activities.   Schimmel enacted a two-year budget and "will continue to be involved in Pontiac" as a member of the transition board, the governor's office said.

Detroit, Ecorse, Benton Harbor, Allen Park and Flint remain under the control of state-appointed emergency managers.

"Lou did a commendable job shepherding the city through a difficult process and addressing its fiscal crisis while improving services for Pontiac residents," Snyder said. "Lou has my thanks for his service and expertise, and I appreciate his willingness to continue his public service by being a member of the Transition Advisory Board."

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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