Senate passes Pavlov bills allowing early intervention to strengthen local finances, protect taxpayers

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that promotes early intervention to help strengthen local finances and protect taxpayers from long-term debt, said sponsor Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township.

The package of bills would form the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, requiring accountability and transparency on the part of municipalities and school districts.

“By enabling early intervention, along with the safeguards of review, appeals, and oversight, the appointment of emergency managers should be a rare occurrence,” said Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “This is about helping communities and school districts in economic distress resolve their financial troubles before a crisis occurs and long before an emergency manager is even considered.”

In the event that an emergency manager would need to be appointed, the act would empower that manager with the decision-making authority to set a community or school district in severe deficit on a swift path to financial recovery.

“In critical circumstances, vital services such as public safety and education must be maintained,” Pavlov said. “This reform permits the necessary preventive steps to be taken under extraordinary conditions to protect public interests and the public’s money, and strengthen local control and accountability.”

Senate Bills 157 and 158, along with House Bills 4214 and 4216 through 4218, now head to the Michigan House.