By Josh Dulaney Staff Writer
Posted: 06/24/2011 07:17:41 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s financial challenges are the most severe ever seen, a consultant has told the City Council, adding that budget cuts alone likely would not solve the problem.

City officials sat and listened Thursday night as Lloyd de Llamas of Diamond Bar-based The HdL Companies gave a gloomy presentation on projected tax revenues.

The city will need to look hard at hikes in sales taxes, property taxes or utility taxes, de Llamas said at the downtown budget workshop.

Cautioning against any assumption that failing economies always come roaring back, de Llamas said “this is the first time we’re telling our clients there’s no more roar back.”

The struggling economy continues to hit hard here, as the city’s general fund sinks closer to a zero balance, with big forecasted deficits.

Finance officials projected that the general fund’s ending balance will be $1.3 million by July 1, 2012.

The general fund could see a deficit of $14.8 million in fiscal 2014-15, according to officials.

City Manager Charles McNeely warned that the state, mired in it’s own budget woes, should not be expected to bail out San Bernardino, and that the city will need to continue to streamline its government.

“We still have some areas where we haven’t come out of the woods,” McNeely said.

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