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Posted Jun. 26, 2014 @ 7:31 pm
Updated Jun 26, 2014 at 7:38 PM

ADELANTO — Adelanto city officials said dramatic cuts to its general fund mean its $2.61 million deficit will merely increase by $22,000 in 2014-15. However, that still might not be enough to stave off a bankruptcy filing, the city manager said Thursday.

“Bankruptcy is still something we will have to consider if the residents don’t support our effort to raise additional revenue,” City Manager Jim Hart said, referring to a utility-tax measure going on the ballot in November. “We have trimmed the budget to continue basic levels of service. But without added revenue, service levels including police and fire will have to be cut further.”

Adelanto City Council members approved the final budget on Wednesday at a regular council meeting. The city’s largest expense continues to be its public safety contracts with San Bernardino County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments, officials said. Those costs will increase by approximately $390,000 combined in 2014-15.

“If you look at the city’s budget, you’ve got basically $10 million in revenue and $7 million goes to police and fire,” Hart said. “The city’s payroll for all employees is $2.5 million. You can’t cut everybody else in the city out, then you’re providing absolutely no services.”

Adelanto Mayor Cari Thomas and Hart both contend that the city is “paying for sins of the past.” Since its incorporation in 1970, Adelanto officials have always balanced their budget with one-time revenues without identifying stabilizing financial sources, they say.

According to Hart, most California cities grappling with similar fiscal emergencies either have large debts to pay or increasing pension costs. But Adelanto doesn’t have either of those.

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