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February 13, 2014 12:05 PM
Brooke Self, Staff Writer

ADELANTO • At a time when Adelanto has never seen greater retail development, the city is also facing a big problem.

Mayor Cari Thomas said Wednesday at the annual State of the City address that Adelanto is looking at a $2.6 million deficit and could run out of cash by the end of the year.

Thomas told the crowd of about 50 people that Adelanto could be “forced to declare bankruptcy” by the end of the year if it does not identify additional revenue sources.

“We’re looking at a cash-on-hand shortage and trying to figure out what to do with that,” Thomas said. “It’s looking like we’re going to go with a utility-user tax. We’re taking it to the voters to see how it is they want to help us solve this financial crisis.”

Adelanto first declared a fiscal emergency on June 26 and consequently made drastic cuts to city staff, police and fire budgets. Currently only three deputies and three firefighters are on duty at one time in Adelanto, Thomas said.

Thomas said the city hopes to retain local control of its public safety services and government, despite the dire financial situation.

“Local control is the key,” Thomas said. “It is the only way to continue to have growth.”

Recently, Councilman Jermaine Wright has accused the city of “spending wildly” and thus causing the fiscal crisis, but Thomas said in response that the city has “never had a spending problem.”

The primary source of Adelanto’s financial woes are continually attributed to low revenues compared to the demands of its operating budget, Thomas said. Police and fire services contracted from San Bernardino County account for 70 percent of the city’s expenses, or $7 million.

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