Pontiac seeks asset options

PONTIAC — Pontiac is trying to sell a number of assets, including two cemeteries and a hospital, in order to help balance its budget.

The city owns two cemeteries, Oak Hill and Ottawa Park. The cemeteries are operating at a deficit — revenues covered only 54 percent of expenses, according to its most recent financial report — and needed $486,732 from the city's general fund to stay afloat. The Mackinac Center recommended selling the cemeteries in its Winter 2007 Michigan Privatization Report.

The city tried selling its North Oakland Medical Centers to the Oakland Physicians Medical Center. NOMC filed for bankruptcy protections from its $38 million debt in August. OPMC offered the city $2 million for the facility, but was unable to get financing, according to The Detroit News.

Pontiac is also trying to sell the Silverdome. As many as four buyers had been identified, but environmental concerns at the site have delayed the $20 million deal.

The State of Michigan has assembled a team to review the city's finances. The team has located a number of issues that need to be addressed, including receiving reimbursement for police services offered to Pontiac schools, and delays in receiving revenue from taxes, public works services and fire transport services, according to The Oakland Press.

References: "Financial review team report: No glaring flaws," The Oakland Press, Oct. 21, 2008

"City on right track with sale of cemeteries, NOMC," The Oakland Press, Sept. 4, 2008

"North Oakland Medical to close today due to money problems," The Detroit News, Oct. 28, 2008

"Unnamed companies inquire about Dome," The Oakland Press, Nov. 13, 2008