The historic restructuring of Detroit through bankruptcy court is taking a crucial step by putting a key agreement before some of those most affected: roughly 30,000 retirees and city employees.
A spokesman for the city's state-appointed emergency manager said Monday that ballots have been sent to those who qualify for pensions.
The pension agreement is viewed as a centerpiece of the restructuring. If the retirees and employees reject it, hundreds of millions of dollars from foundations, philanthropists and the Detroit Institute of Arts would vanish and deeper pension cuts would become inevitable.
Detroit has proposed cutting pensions by 4.5 percent and eliminating cost-of-living payments. Retired police officers and firefighters have a deal that trims only cost-of-living payments.
Detroit filed for bankruptcy last July, citing $18 billion in unmanageable long-term liabilities.