After Detroit, another city ponders bankruptcy

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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.