By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino is among a wave of cities across the nation forced to face a harsh and unforgiving reality of bankruptcy. This summer, the City entered formal bankruptcy after years of economic and fiscal distress. And now, at a critical time of re-election and leadership turnover in the struggling city, Mayor Patrick J. Morris challenged the city council to adopt a 10-Year Financial Recovery Plan http://www.sbcity.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=16290 for the City of San Bernardino. The plan, released at Morris’ State of the City address http://www.sbcity.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=16291, outlines the critical steps necessary for San Bernardino to emerge from bankruptcy, rebuild a firm financial foundation, and restore the services and infrastructure desperately needed in the community.
“There has been a woeful lack of dialogue among city officials, civic and business leaders, and residents on a financial recovery plan for San Bernardino, and we are less than a month away from citywide elections when voters will decide who will lead this city for the next four years,” said Mayor Pat Morris. “With San Bernardino’s formal admission into bankruptcy, it is imperative the City move swiftly and aggressively to develop a ten-year plan for financial recovery. While the bankruptcy judge has instructed the City to begin mediation with our creditors, this action is just one-step towards putting San Bernardino on the path to solvency. As revealed in my financial recovery plan, resolving our issues with city creditors represents only a fraction of the huge amount of work and changes required to return San Bernardino to fiscal health. My financial recovery plan, details ten specific action steps, with estimates for savings and revenues, to erase the City’s $360 million deficit over the next ten years.”
Factors that pushed the City into bankruptcy and ran-up a $360 million deficit include: fifteen years of city officials granting huge increases to employee benefits and pensions, a city charter that mandates annual increases to public safety salaries, continuous cuts to city services and infrastructure to pay for increases to salaries and pensions, debilitating political infighting, and economic impacts of the great recession of 2008.
“This ten-year recovery plan is not intended as ‘final solution’ to the city’s financial challenges,” said Mayor Morris. “I expect the ideas, actions, and numbers in the plan to receive plenty of scrutiny, analysis, and criticism. The purpose of presenting a detailed recovery plan is to plant the flag, and create a starting point for a very serious discussion, during a very time-compressed window, when city officials, civic and business leaders, and residents must come together to adopt a financial plan to save San Bernardino.”