Smooth Transition Expected in Highland Park

Contact: Terry Stanton (517) 335-1356

December 14, 2001

Residents in the financially troubled city of Highland Park will not experience an interruption in their Public Safety services this afternoon. Emergency Finance Manager Ramona Henderson-Pearson says, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department has stepped forward to provide road patrols for Highland Park, on a temporary basis, as of 3 p.m. today. At that point, the city's police department was dissolved, in the continuing effort to address the financial emergency currently facing the city. "We estimate that this measure can save taxpayers in Highland Park up to $3 million over the next six months," says Frederick Headen, Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Treasury's Bureau of Local Government. Headen says, "This will keep a strong law enforcement presence in the city to make certain all emergency situations are handled quickly and effectively." Headen also says, the city will retain 9-1-1 staffers as well as employees who handle various police department administrative duties.

The city of Highland Park is operating with a $6.5 million dollar deficit, which prompted the naming of Ramona Henderson-Pearson as the city's Emergency Finance Manager last June. As part of the road patrol agreement with Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano, Henderson-Pearson says, the state will assist the city in issuing bonds, with a portion of the proceeds to be used to reimburse the county for the cost of providing patrols. That cost will be capped at $1 million over a six-month period. In the meantime, negotiations will continue, in hopes of developing a long-term public safety plan for the city of Highland Park, while containing costs in relation to the city's on-going financial emergency. According to Headen, "Wayne County officials are to be commended for assisting the city through this situation and the continuing effort to resolve Highland Park's financial difficulties."