Tuesday, July 10, 2012 – 11:00 a.m.
Budget forecasts provided to the San Bernardino Mayor and City Council last month reveal a city in deep financial trouble and a list of pie-in-the-sky short and long term solutions.
The city, which is currently operating without an approved budget, faces a projected current fiscal year operating deficit of more than $51 million.
Bankruptcy is becoming a larger spectre as more is uncovered.
The problem of out of control spending, rising pension costs and falling revenues has pressed city leaders to examine a myriad of tax and fee increases.
Mayor Pat Morris and the city council are involved in three days of closed door meetings over the city’s finances.
Meetings that should be held in public.
Some revenue generators under consideration consist of the following.
Utility User Tax 1% Increase $ 3,000,000 Utility User Tax 2% Increase $ 6,000,000 911 Communication Fee $ 6,700,000 Increase Real Property Transfer Tax $ 3,000,000 Transient Occupancy Tax $ 250,000 Paramedic Subscription Program $ 690,000 Implement False Alarm Fees $ 100,000 Sale of Surplus and Held for Sale Land $18,000,000 . Source: Table 11 - Revenue Options Summary - City of San Bernardino
The problem here ? Much of what is under consideration would need voter approval on the November election ballot.
A ballot already containing three statewide tax measures under Propositions 30, 38 and 39. Any city measure would follow the state propositions on ballot placement.
Additionally, the value of surplus land held for sale is likely to be grossly overvalued, and any sale would likely be subject to state approval. This move is obviously a one-time event.
A larger question looming is what action will the state take against the city for the misuse of redevelopment money to sustain its general fund?