San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 02/19/15, 8:21 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The city reached the middle of the fiscal year with a balanced budget, City Manager Allen Parker said Thursday.

The achievement — routine for most cities — means the city has avoided backsliding as bankruptcy and other unexpected costs assaulted the thin margin for the budget the City Council passed for 2014-15, just hours before the fiscal year began July 1, and doesn’t immediately need more cuts.

“We stopped the bleeding,” Parker said. “Revenue just exceeded — just by a bit — what we projected, and we were able to contain costs, so we’re on schedule to finish the year in the black.”

A year ago, the city’s midyear budget review showed the city’s budget was balanced only by not including $22.9 million in deferred payments. The city has paid off or negotiated away much of its California Public Employees’ Retirement System obligation, Parker said.

“There’s nothing hidden in (the budget),” he said.

But asked whether having a balanced budget at midyear prepared the city for a successful Plan of Adjustment, the bankruptcy exit plan the city is required to submit by May 30, Parker hinted at trouble on the horizon.

“The 12 months (of fiscal year 2014-15) have been solved,” he said. “The Plan of Adjustment has other difficulties.”

Among them is about $200 million in needed infrastructure improvements that have been put off for years, expected increases to CalPERS payments and more, he said.

The council and public will review the full budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30 at a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday in the EDA board room, 201 N. E St. The budget report wasn’t available late Thursday before administrators left for the weekend.

But the council will be asked to make four changes, according to a one-page request attached to the agenda of Monday’s workshop:

• Approve increases in estimated revenues in the amount of $1.3 million in the General Fund.

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