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Wayne County, Michigan Investor Relations

Issuer Type: County/City/Town

Bond Ratings

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General Obligation

Moody's
Baa1
S&P
BBB+
Fitch
BBB+

Revenue

Moody's
Aa3
Warren C. Evans

On behalf of Wayne County, Michigan I would like to welcome you to our new investor relations website. We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by the County, as it allows us to make critical investments in public infrastructure throughout Wayne County. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.

I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of Wayne County, MI. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions for how we can be doing better. Thanks again for your interest in our bond program.

Warren C. Evans, County Executive

News & Highlights

December 5, 2019

Press Release
Historic Wilcox, Newburgh Mills Sale Approved, Closer to Reinvention

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 5, 2019                                               

H****istoric Wilcox, Newburgh mills sale approved, closer to reinvention

Redeveloping former Ford Motor Company mills will enhance Hines Park, better connect communities

DETROIT – The Wayne County Commission today approved Purchase and Development Agreements for the Wilcox Mill, located in the city of Plymouth, and Newburgh Mill, located in Livonia, properties adjacent to Hines Park. The sales passed by a vote of 11-3. The Commission also approved an agreement for the County to acquire 16.73 acres in Westland from the Wayne County Land Bank that will be added to the Hines Park footprint.

Under the terms of the sale, and as part of the Mill Run Placemaking Project, the new owners agree to redevelop the vacant mill structures in compliance with the Secretary of Interior’s standards for rehabilitation, create new trail connections on the sites, and open green space that is currently inaccessible to the public.

As part of the purchase and development agreements for both Wilcox and Newburgh, the County retains first right of refusal to repurchase the property should the new owners decide to sell them in the future. The sale price for 4.3-acre Wilcox site is $360,000 and $405,000 for the 1.8-acre Newburgh site. Revenue from the sales will be reinvested into Wayne County Parks.

“This deal allows the transformation of the mills from eyesores into true community assets for Plymouth and Livonia while preserving an important part of our history,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “These projects also ensure the land surrounding the mills becomes public accessible and better connects Hines Park with surrounding communities.”

Wilcox Mill will be purchased by Mill on Rouge LLC created by local artist Tony Roko and the Art Foundation. They plan to rehabilitate the building into an art education space and construct a publicly-accessible “inner child sculpture garden” on the surrounding land that displays three-dimension realizations of children’s drawings.

Newburgh Mill will be purchased by Newburg Mill LLC operated by local developer Richard Cox. Once renovated, Newburgh Mill is expected to be a distillery with additional retail space as well as park space in the shape of a spiral, meant to reflect the automotive parts once manufactured on the site. Cox is responsible for the successful rehabilitation of the Northville Mill into modern office space. He also purchased Phoenix Mill in Plymouth Township from Wayne County in 2018 and has begun rehabilitating that property into an event facility with public green space.

“We were at risk of losing these mills forever. These are the product of a collaborative effort to identify redevelopment solutions for these mills,” said Assistant County Executive Khalil Rahal. “Our economic development team, Wayne County Parks, local leaders, and community stakeholders worked together throughout this process to ensure we crafted the right deal for both properties.”

Wilcox and Newburgh mills as well as Phoenix Mill and Nankin Mills were part of the “Ford Village Industries” network of parts factories located along the Middle Rouge River and were deeded to the County by the Ford Motor Company in 1948.

Nankin Mills remains Wayne County property and houses the Parks Division’s offices and an interpretive center, which recently underwent an approximately $800,000 renovation. The remaining three mills were largely used by the County as administrative and storage space.

“The mill properties were essentially inaccessible to the public for more than 70 years,” said Evans. “These deals ensure the development connects it with local communities and the larger network of non-motorized trails as well as enhances Hines Park with unique destinations that will celebrate our heritage.”

The sale of Newburgh and Wilcox was unanimously approved 7-0 by the Commission’s Committee of Public Services on Tuesday, November 26. As part of the purchase agreement Wayne County acquires 16.73 acres of the former Hawthorne Valley Golf Course property in Westland and is required to maintain the property as a park creating pedestrian trails and other recreation or conservation improvements.

“Acquiring additional park space will provide increased connections to Hines Park and recreational benefits to the community,” said Beverly Watts, Director of Public Services for Wayne County. “This type of initiative supports the vision of our strategic master plan and future planning of our parks.”

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.waynecounty.com/millrun/

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December 4, 2019

Press Release
Fitch Rating Upgrades Wayne County, MI to BBB+

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 4, 2019                                               

FITCH RATING UPGRADES WAYNE COUNTY, MI TWO NOTCHES TO BBB+ FROM BBB-

DETROIT – Fitch Ratings has upgraded Wayne County’s credit rating two notches to BBB+ from BBB-. The ratings agency determined the County’s financial outlook is stable.

Fitch cites Wayne County’s “moderate long-term liability burden and strong financial resilience” as reasons for the BBB+ rating, which is considered investment grade.

“This upgrade by Fitch further demonstrates that Wayne County’s recovery plan has led to a sustainable, efficient government and built the foundation for the long-term rebuilding of the County,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We have reduced our long-term liabilities, developed a reserve, and we are better prepared to weather future economic downturns. This upgrade reflects that reality.”

Fitch’s determination, published in a November 26, 2019 report, highlighted a steady decline in unemployment, improved budget flexibility, and tax base growth as positive indicators of the county’s health. However, the report cited poverty and state regulations that “inhibits the county's ability to realize revenue commensurate with growth in the property tax base” as challenges still facing Wayne County.

“We cannot ignore these red flags about poverty and local funding,” said Evans. “The Fitch report echoes concerns raised by Moody’s earlier this year. Even Wall Street recognizes poverty isn’t an isolated problem. It affects Wayne County as a whole.  It’s critical that local and county governments have the resources to address poverty and aggressively pursue policies, such as regional transit, that create opportunities for residents and maintain our momentum.”

Wayne County’s credit is currently rated as investment-grade by Wall Street’s two other major ratings agencies, Moody’s (Baa1) and S&P (BBB+).

Since taking office in 2015, the Evans Administration has eliminated a $52 million structural and an $82 million accumulated budget deficit, delivered four consecutive budget surpluses, and increased Wayne County’s pension funding from 45% to 62%.

Wayne County faced unfunded liabilities of $810 million for pensions and $1.3 billion for OPEB in 2015.  As of 2018, the County still faces $545.6 million in unfunded pension liabilities and $178.1 million unfunded OPEB liabilities.

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November 18, 2019

Press Release
Regional leaders support Municipal Partnership Act revision as way forward on transit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 18, 2019  

Jim Martinez, 313-320-1365

jmartinez@waynecounty.com

Regional leaders support Municipal Partnership Act revision as way forward on transit

Legislative change allows Oakland, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties to pursue 3-county plan

ROYAL OAK- Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans joined with Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner Chair Jason Morgan, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to support a proposed revision to Michigan’s Municipal Partnership Act (MPA). The regional leaders say MPA revisions provide an additional mechanism and first step toward expanding regional transit in Southeast Michigan.

With the support of Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), State Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance), the bill sponsor, joined the announcement on the Royal Oak Campus of Beaumont Health with several other elected officials.

“The MPA gives local leaders an opportunity to craft and finance a substantive, politically-viable transit plan for Wayne, Washtenaw, and Oakland counties,” said Evans.  “Transit is a priority for our region and offers a potential pathway to a regional solution. At this point in time, we need to move forward with a coalition of the willing and the urgency this issue deserves.” 

The proposed MPA revisions (House Bill 5229) would make technical revisions to the current law, passed in 2011, so that the region can have greater flexibility in finding a solution to transit.

“We are asking the Michigan Legislature to give us this tool so that we can begin the hard work of developing a transit plan that provides value to our communities,” Coulter said. “Done right, improved transit and mobility has the potential to enhance economic development, resolve workforce constraints, and improve the quality of life for our residents.”

House Bill 5229 will ensure municipal partnerships will be transparent and accountable to residents. Under the proposed legislation, voters in participating jurisdictions have the right to approve millages for any partnership. Additionally, millage revenue for partnerships will be protected from DDA or TIF captures. As with other regional endeavors, such as the DIA and Zoo, millage revenue for partnerships will not be subject to millage caps. 

“We have been working on solving our regional transit challenges for years to allow us to compete against other states for major economic opportunity and investment,” Duggan said. “This legislation is a big first step toward a transit solution that has escaped us for too long.”

If the changes are approved by Lansing, leaders from Wayne, Washtenaw, and Oakland County as well as the city of Detroit will work with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to conduct a public engagement process and attempt to negotiate a three-county partnership as a first step in expanded regional transportation. Under the MPA, Macomb County could join later should their transit needs grow from their current full county SMART structure.

“Washtenaw County remains committed to working with our partners in Wayne and Oakland counties to develop a regional transportation system that works for our residents,” said Jason Morgan, Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. “Regional transportation is critical to ensuring inclusive economic growth for Southeast Michigan and we are ready and willing to move forward with developing a three-county transit solution. The MPA gives us that opportunity to take that next step, together.”

Evans says he believes all four local leaders and the RTA will come together on the right plan for the region.  “It has to be the right plan for all three counties and Detroit,” said Evans. “We are all mindful of working across the table to negotiate an agreement that meets the works for all of us.” 

HB 5229 is sponsored by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) and is currently pending before the House Committee on Transportation. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, who was not in attendance, supports the other regional partners moving forward. 

“We support the efforts of our regional partners exploring better connected regional transit options,” said Hackel. “As the only county in the region with a countywide service area, we look forward to future opportunities to better connect our region.”

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