Detroit Evening Report: Highland Park mayor declares state of emergency over $24 million debt

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Highland Park municipal building

Highland Park Mayor Glenda McDonald has declared a state of emergency as the city faces a financial crisis.

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McDonald announced the move at Monday’s city council meeting after members rejected a request to hire attorneys to represent Highland Park on possible bankruptcy issues. City officials have asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to expedite the declaration of Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy.

Highland Park owes $24 million to the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) but lack the funds to pay the debt.

The city’s situation could lead to bankruptcy or another state takeover that Detroit experienced a decade ago. But one researcher says the city would be better off dissolving and becoming part of Detroit.

Read: Why Highland Park wants to enter bankruptcy

James Tatum says the city could do it without losing its sense of community.

“Maybe Highland Park stays a place, an area that we know as Highland Park. If you have an address that says Highland Park on it, maybe there’s even a post office that’s specifically for Highland Park,” Tatum suggested.

Tatum says voters in both cities would have to approve such a union.

Highland Park has until the end of May to work out a payment agreement with GLWA.

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  • Jerome Vaughn
    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.