City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller, center, discusses details of the pendency plan on Monday during a city council meeting in San Bernardino. (Micah Escamilla/Correspondent)

San Bernardino Bankruptcy

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/26/2012 05:04:27 PM PST

Catch up: San Bernardino
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SAN BERNARDINO – It’s not quite a balanced budget and it’s not quite unanimous, but after weeks of pressure the City Council reached a milestone Monday when it passed a cuts package that will be presented to the court as part of the city’s bankruptcy filing.

The plan, which cuts $26 million and defers nearly $35 million in payments, passed 5-2 after pleas for unanimous passage by City Attorney James F. Penman and Mayor Pat Morris, frequent adversaries.

“The people of San Bernardino are appealing to your patriotism, not to country but to city,” Penman told council members, predicting tough legal fights against creditors who would argue a divided City Council wasn’t committed to fixing a budget deficiency of $52.4 million. “The court, quite frankly, is not going to let us go forward if we don’t have that resolve.”

A 4-3 vote could demonstrate some commitment, but the closer council members are to speaking with one voice the better, Penman said.

But some cuts in the plan – particularly funding only 260 officer positions, compared to a peak of 350 and a current force of 268 – were unacceptable given high crime levels, said Councilmen Chas Kelley and John Valdivia, who cast the two dissenting votes.

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