Once harboring the sprawling factories dubbed Buick City and Chevy in the Hole, Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors, is reportedly now on the precipice of its own ch. 9 bankruptcy. According to the Detroit News, as of 2011 the city was saddled with $150 million in long-term debt, $900 million in unfunded retiree benefit liabilities, and 15% unemployment. And like its big sister, Detroit, has lost nearly 50% of its population in the past 30 years, leading to sprawls of vacant homes and empty streets. The city is in such dire straights that it has been under the control of an Emergency Financial Manager ("EFM") since 2011.
Now, a group of city retirees is suing the city of Flint to halt proposed cuts to their health care benefits, a benefit that costs the city $5 million dollars per year. This suit by Flint's retirees has prompted the city's current EFM, Darnell Earley, to declare the city may not be able to stay solvent if it is not able to get any relief from its retiree health care benefits, leaving the door open for a ch. 9 bankruptcy filing for Michigan's once second largest city in the not too distant future.
The nation was captivated as Detroit became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy. Now, as many states and cities all across this nation wrestle with the same plight as Flint, we stand in wonder and ponder...which will be the next?