A fiscal emergency was declared in Detroit today, setting the stage for a state takeover.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the move.
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"Detroit can't wait," Agence France-Press quoted him as saying at a town hall meeting. "We need to solve real issues here today because citizens are not getting the services they need and we have a financial crisis."
Officials in the Motor City have 10 days to appeal the decision.
If that doesn't happen, Snyder told The Associated Press he'll decide whether to appoint an emergency manager.
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An appeal isn't likely, since the state already made the recommendation in a Feb. 19 and concluded the city needs the state's help to recover, The New York Times reported.
But the move by a white, Republican governor to take over a predominantly black, Democratic city has drawn intense criticism and charges of racism, according to AFP.
Supporters say it's the only way to tackle Detroit's seemingly intractable problems.
The birthplace of Motown and the US auto industry, Detroit was once one of the country's largest cities but lost 25 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010, Reuters reported.
The city now faces a $327 million budget deficit, more than $14 billion in long-term debt and persistent cash flow issues, according to the AP.