April 2 (Bloomberg) — Detroit won court approval to issue $120 million in bonds to pay for emergency vehicles and basic services while it prepares for a court battle with creditors over how to reduce $18 billion in debt.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes approved the borrowing today at a hearing in federal court in Detroit. The city plans to spend $36.2 million of the money on the police department, $28.5 million on the fire department and $35.6 million on blight removal.

Detroit "is not providing sufficient services to meet the basic needs of its citizens," Rhodes said. "This loan will provide the city with the means to begin to make up that deficit. The time to begin is now, if not before now."

Creditors including Syncora Guarantee Inc., which insures some of the city's debt, have opposed emergency manager Kevyn Orr's program to restructure Detroit's finances, including the $120 million loan. They also object to an $85 million deal the city reached with UBS AG and Bank of America Corp. to end interest-rate swaps that would otherwise threaten the city's most reliable source of cash: casino taxes. That deal is also going before Rhodes this week.

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