By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspaper
ALLEN PARK — Days out of receivership and city officials and the community are elated with the feeling of having their city back.
The first order of business was to move forward.
“It’s been a long time coming,” City Administrator Mark Kibby said Thursday.
He said the first thing the council is doing is addressing eight contracts that are about $250,000. These contracts include water and street repairs that have been held up while the city was in receivership. It also allows the city to deal with the property that formerly served as City Hall and the Police Department.
“We can get our community back to where it was years ago,” Kibby said of the Jan. 31, announcement from Gov. Rick Snyder.
City officials also received a congratulations email from their former emergency manager Joyce Parker, who ran the city from March 2013 to September 2014. After that, a Receivership Transition Advisory Board was seated to oversee the transition of control back to the City Council.
It was their recommendation that control be returned to the City Council.
“In receivership, you are at the mercy of the state,” Kibby said, adding that it was difficult to make real estate moves or get contracts approved because of meeting schedules where RTAB would have to approve the transactions.
“It will allow us to move forward on items without being delayed,” Kibby said, noting that it could sometimes take five or six weeks before RTAB would approve an item. “In purchasing and selling, timing is everything.”
Resident Tammy Baker said Wednesday she didn’t realize the city was out of receivership.
“It has been frustrating the past few years, seeing the elected officials not have the power,” Baker said. “It was like they had to bow to the emergency manager or the advisory board.”
Like some others, there are worries about staying free of another placement of an emergency manager.
Kibby said the city has a knowledgeable mayor, and they will keep moving forward.
“We’re much stronger than we were,” Kibby said. “We have a stronger fiscal stance.”
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)