Flint's budget deficit shrinking, city still struggling - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint's budget deficit shrinking, city still struggling with budget trouble

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(01/13/14) - We have new details about where the city of Flint budget stands.

Results of a recent audit were revealed at Monday evening's council meeting.

Their budget deficit is shrinking, but a recent court of appeals ruling is going to mean added expenses.

"This has put a different twist on the direction we're heading," said City Council President Scott Kincaid.

Right now, that direction is up.

Flint was $19 million in the hole, but the city is now facing a $12.9 million deficit.

"It shows we're making great progress," said Councilman Wantwaz Davis. "We just have to be careful on how much we spend as opposed to what we're getting in."

That's the twist Kincaid was talking about.

The federal court of appeals recently made a decision that will make a big impact on Flint's expenses.

Former Emergency Manager Mike Brown made a decision to have retirees pay more for health care, hoping to save the city millions of dollars.

But six retirees sued and a recent court of appeals ruling puts an end to Brown's decision.

"That's going to cost us about $300,000 a month," Kincaid said.

Now it's another big factor to consider in next year's already shaky budget.

"I heard the word bankruptcy tonight, I don't think we're anywhere near there, but I don't think it's out of the question for the future," Kincaid said.

The lawsuit over retiree health benefits isn't over. The city attorney says they'll continue to fight this, but in the mean time, they have to keep paying these benefits, and it could be a long legal battle.

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