While Detroit’s bankruptcy and revitalization were discussed at the Mackinac Policy Conference (and on the porch of the Grand Hotel), attorneys for the city and several of its creditors were in court in Detroit today, addressing several issues related to the Chapter 9 proceedings and the voting on the city’s Plan of Adjustment.
First, it was revealed that thousands of retirees received inaccurate ballots and will need to vote again, writes Robert Snell in The Detroit News:
The city sent an estimated 2,000 ballots with inaccurate data about money Detroit wants to recoup from current and former workers. The current and former workers, who are covered by the city’s General pension fund, will be sent new ballots with accurate information and get a chance to vote again. “It will undoubtedly result in ‘no’ votes that might otherwise have been ‘yes’ votes,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said during a hearing Wednesday. “This is very, very unfortunate.
“Who do we hold responsible for this?” Rhodes asked Detroit bankruptcy lawyer Bruce Bennett. Bennett, one of the lead lawyers from the Jones Day law firm, said he didn’t know. Rhodes demanded a name on Friday.
Second, Judge Rhodes said millions of water customers have not paid enough for Detroit Water and Sewerage Department services and could pay more soon. The Detroit News reports:
The 4 million customers across Metro Detroit will pay more if U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes approves the city’s debt-cutting plan. The failure to pay more for water service led to a shortfall in the city’s pension funds that would be fixed if Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr spins off the utility to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties for about $47 million a year. City bankruptcy lawyer Heather Lennox said rates need to be hiked in the city’s debt-cutting plan to pay for capital improvements.
“We are predicting modest rate increases,” she told Rhodes during a hearing Wednesday. A possible spinoff of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is one of the more controversial aspects of the city’s restructuring plan.
Detroit’s bankruptcy is far from over.