Does it seem odd that Flint still has nine City Council members representing nine wards given the city's dramatic population drop over the past few decades? With a population of roughly 100,000 and falling, each Flint City Council member represents about 11,000 citizens.
By contrast, San Francisco has 11 districts and a population of approximately 800,000. That means each member of the Board of Supervisors represents about 73,000 residents. Chicago has a population of 2.7 million represented by 50 aldermen. That works out to one elected official for every 54,000 citizens.
Given Flint's ongoing budget woes, this would be a drop in the bucket, but there's certainly money that could be saved by reducing the number of wards and city council members. Given the low voter turnout at many of the city's 61 precincts, it might make sense to consolidate those as well.
In case you're wondering, the 2011-2012 City of Flint budget allocated $899,922 to the city council. You can find a pdf of the budget here.
Please note that this is not some Tea Party inspired post that reflexively endorses smaller government in all circumstances. It's also not a reflection of the City Council's performance, although I'm sure that's open to debate. This idea is more a reflection of Flint's reality. The current ward system was established when Flint had a lot more people and a lot more money. Maybe it's time to make an adjustment.