After Detroit, another city ponders bankruptcy

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After Detroit, another city ponders bankruptcy
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: Scott Hempeo (L) and Tyler Bienlein work with Habitat For Humanity workers at the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: Tyler Bienlein (C) and Mastercard employees work at the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: Habitat for Humanity, Mastercard employee's and speakers pose with Scott Hempeo (LC) and Tyler Bienlein (RC) at the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: Congressman Dan Kildee (L) speaks to employee's at the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: Scott Hempeo and Tyler Bienlein work with Habitat For Humanity workers at the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
FLINT, MI - MAY 13: General view during the Habitat For Humanity And MasterCard Create Affordable Housing To Support Small Business Owners on May 13, 2014 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for MasterCard)
United Auto Workers (UAW) members applaud during a news conference at the General Motors Co. assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. General Motors Co., amid a push to refresh most of its U.S. lineup, said it plans to spend $1.3 billion to upgrade five U.S factories on top of the $1.5 billion already announced this year. Photographer: Bryan Mitchell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 15: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 15, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 16: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 16, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 15: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 15, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 15: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 15, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 16: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 16, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI- JANUARY 16: A view of the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on January 16, 2014. The US city of Detroit, once a symbol of US industrial power, filed for bankruptcy, with debts of $18.5 billion on July 18, 2013, which makes Detroit the largest city in US history to do so. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 04: Remnants of Detroit's historic Eastown Theatre are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The theatre operated as a movie theater, music venue and church off-and-on from 1931 until 2004; the building could seat 2,500 people. Since 2004 it has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 04: Ruins at the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Packard Plant was a 3.5 million square foot car manufacturing plant built completed in 1911. Major operations ceased in 1958, though the plant was used in a limited capacity until the 1990s, with outer buildings used through the mid 2000s. Since then the buildings have fallen into disrepair - they are now used mostly for graffitti artists and scavengers. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 04: Tony Brown, a homeless man, takes a nap as members of the Detroit Fire Department fight a two-alarm fire that broke out in an abandoned building down the street on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 04: Tony Brown, a homeless man, smokes a cigarette as members of the Detroit Fire Department fight a two-alarm fire that broke out in an abandoned building down the street on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 04: A wild dog wanders through Detroit's historic Eastown Theatre are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The theatre operated as a movie theater, music venue and church off-and-on from 1931 until 2004; the building could seat 2,500 people. Since 2004 it has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. The city has recently also struggled with packs of wild dogs roving the streets. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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By JEFF KAROUB

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - As Detroit attempts to emerge from bankruptcy this year, another Michigan city with strong auto industry bonds could be on the brink of beginning the same process.

Flint also has suffered a spectacular drop in population and factory jobs, and a corresponding rise in property abandonment, much like its insolvent big brother an hour's drive south.

Flint's state-appointed overseer says the city can forestall bankruptcy with imposed cost-cutting and tax- and fee-increases. But he's concerned it would have to seek court relief if a judge rules against cutting retiree health benefits.

Some experts agree that adding $5 million to this year's budget alone dramatically increases the risk of bankruptcy. Yet some retirees say the city is threatening, not negotiating, and that going back on long-promised benefits will hurt pensioners.

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