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Policy: Entitlements

'Complicated' Detroit bankruptcy vote out July 21

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Photo - FILE- Retiree Evelyn Smith, left, protests near the federal courthouse in Detroit on July 3, 2014. Ballots submitted by city workers, retirees, pensioners and other creditors likely will determine how quickly Detroit exits its historic bankruptcy. On Monday, July 14, 2014, city lawyer Heather Lennox told federal Judge Steven Rhodes that the results of voting by retirees on a proposed bankruptcy settlement should be reported the week of July 21, 2014. General retirees would see a 4.5 percent cut and also lose annual inflation adjustments. Police officers and firefighters would lose a portion of their annual cost-of-living payment. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE- Retiree Evelyn Smith, left, protests near the federal courthouse in Detroit on July 3, 2014. Ballots submitted by city workers, retirees, pensioners and other creditors likely will determine how quickly Detroit exits its historic bankruptcy. On Monday, July 14, 2014, city lawyer Heather Lennox told federal Judge Steven Rhodes that the results of voting by retirees on a proposed bankruptcy settlement should be reported the week of July 21, 2014. General retirees would see a 4.5 percent cut and also lose annual inflation adjustments. Police officers and firefighters would lose a portion of their annual cost-of-living payment. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
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DETROIT (AP) — The counting of votes cast by creditors in Detroit's bankruptcy case is a "little complicated," but the city is on track to report results next week, an attorney said Monday.

More than 30,000 retirees and current and former workers were eligible to vote on pension changes through last Friday. Their approval would trigger a bailout, valued at $816 million, from the state of Michigan, foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, filed for federal bankruptcy protection a year ago, saying Detroit's debt was about $18 billion. About $3.5 billion was listed as unfunded pension liabilities.

The city had planned to file the results next Monday, but Judge Steven Rhodes asked whether the numbers could become public this week. No, attorney Heather Lennox replied.

"The financial tabulation is a little complicated," she said without elaborating.

The ballots are counted two ways: by a simple up-or-down vote and also by the size of a creditor's claim. In the case of a retiree, it would be the pension owed. The job is being handled by a California contractor.

Approval or defeat will become part of the evidence at trial next month on Detroit's overall strategy to get out of bankruptcy. Approval would make it easier for Rhodes to declare the city's exit plan fair and feasible.

Financial aid from the state and other parties would prevent the sale of city-owned art and avert larger pension cuts. The art museum said it will hold a news conference Wednesday. It has pledged to come up with $100 million for the so-called grand bargain.

General retirees would see a 4.5 percent cut and also lose annual inflation adjustments. Police officers and firefighters would lose a portion of their annual cost-of-living payment.

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Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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