Detroit residents worry about their future after city declares bankruptcy

(CBS News) DETROIT -- Detroit owes 100,000 creditors money that it doesn't have.

The Motor City is running on fumes: sixty percent of its residents have left since 1950s. Unemployment here is 16 percent.

Detroit has an unemployment rate of 16 percent. CBS

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"This is the time to say enough is enough in terms of the downward decline of Detroit. The 700,000 people of Detroit deserve a better answer," said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Detroit is negotiating a $340 million deal to get big banks to accept 75 percent of what they're owed.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder CBS

But other creditors, including municipal bond holders, could end up with pennies on the dollar.

And city workers, owed $9 billion in benefits and pensions, oppose this bankruptcy the most.

David Sole, a retired city employee, said it's not only his retirement which is on the line.

"My survival is on the line," said Sole, who stopped working last January. He spent 22 working as a union chemist. He receives a $1,750 monthly pension.

Retired city employee David Sole and his family live on his $1,750 monthly pension. CBS

He said he didn't plan to spend his retirement picketing and protesting, but he has no other choice.

It may be the most complicated bankruptcy plan ever. A federal judge has to OK it, and creditors must sign on, too.

Many residents expect services to get worse, in a city where police, on average, take an hour to respond to emergencies.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.