San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 08/25/15 – 12:25 AM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The City Council voted 4-3 on Monday to move forward with transferring responsibility for fire and emergency protection to the County Fire Department, a move that would also mean a $142-per-year tax on every parcel in the city.

The move follows the advice of several sets of consultants — those responsible for a post-bankruptcy plan that included outsourcing and new revenues that the council approved 6-1, and firefighting experts — but came against heavy opposition from residents.

City officials’ advocacy of the plan began by saying the city’s ability to continue in bankruptcy court, and continue as a city, was dependent on moving forward.

The financial impact was much-debated, with disparate numbers suggested, but was presented by Andy Belknap of Management Partners as “an $11 million contribution to solvency,” between savings and increased revenue options.

Beyond that, the idea — outsourcing and raising revenues — was included in the recovery plan the city presented to bankruptcy court, and backing away from that commitment could lead to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury to dismiss the city from bankruptcy court, said the city’s bankruptcy attorney, Paul Glassman.

Creditors would then have free rein on the debts that now only Chapter 9 status stops them from collecting.

“This would have a catastrophic effect on the city such that it could not go on as an ongoing entity,” Glassman said.

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