Detroit’s Home County Downgraded by S&P to Two Steps Above Junk

Michigan’s Wayne County, home of Detroit, had its credit rating cut to two steps above junk by Standard & Poor’s because of declining property values and a negative general-fund balance.

The downgrade to BBB reflects “financial deterioration caused primarily by a prolonged structural imbalance,” an S&P analyst, Jane Ridley, said in the report.

Cities located within Wayne County include Detroit and Allen Park, which are among Michigan municipalities under state-appointed emergency financial managers. Flint, Benton Harbor and Pontiac also have such managers, according to the state treasurer’s website. Hamtramck, also within the county, is under review for an overseer.

With 707,000 residents across an area larger than Boston, San Francisco and Manhattan combined, Detroit has eight people per acre, down from 21 in 1950, and 65,000 vacant homes, many slated for demolition.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said today that he won’t run for a second term, though he would form an exploratory committee for a possible campaign to become executive of Wayne County. Kevyn Orr was appointed emergency manager of Michigan’s most-populous city in March by Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Chappatta in New York at bchappatta1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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