Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/16/2012 08:07:08 PM PST

Special Section: San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO – After months of pressure from skeptical creditors and residents, city officials have prepared a budget plan that could erase a $45.8 million deficit.

But it would come at a cost some call unacceptable: significant cuts to public safety and employee benefits and putting off payments to CalPERS and bond payments.

The City Council on Monday will consider the document – to be presented to U.S. bankruptcy court as its “pendency plan” and serve as a financial plan for fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14 if passed.

In a departure from usual meeting scheduling, a meeting is also planned for Nov. 26.

That’s intended to give the council time to pass it and have the city’s bankruptcy attorney, Paul Glassman, work it into a legal filing due Nov. 30.

Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said at the city’s last hearing that the city could be found ineligible for bankruptcy if the pendency plan weren’t submitted “soon” and that the Nov. 30 filing – arguing for narrower grounds on which to challenge eligibility – would likely need extensive details from the pendency plan.

“It’s a moment of truth, in a word, for our City Council, to get this budget balanced with this pendency plan so we can take it to the judge before the end of the month and be eligible for Chapter 9,” said Mayor Pat Morris. “It’s a remarkably important document that I think largely shares the pain and should be done the 19th.”

But the plan – in addition to suspending some payments for debt and legal claims and continuing already-approved cuts – also includes cuts that may prove unpassable.

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