San Bernardino Seal

By Leslie Parrilla, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 05/23/14, 7:47 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Unprecedented cuts during unparalleled times are hovering over leaders in this bankrupt city, possibly forcing them to close all three branch libraries, shut down two fire stations and wipe out half of one department’s employees in an effort to balance a $124 million budget and shore up a $22.8 million deficit.

“It’s a bad budget year, and every department of government is getting a hit,” Councilman Jim Mulvihill said. “If we raise (expenses), we gotta cut somewhere else. That’s sort of the sword hanging over our heads.”

A budget workshop this week for council members brought into focus the casualties behind the numbers.

“I need to address a deficit of $23 million,” said City Manager Allen Parker.

Parker asked library leaders to somehow trim $1 million from a $1.7 million budget. To do that would require plans such as closing all three branches and keep the Norman F. Feldheym Central Library on Sixth Street open. Library board President Milton Clark said they’re looking for other options.

“Closing all three branches would only net a savings of about $200,000,” Clark said.

To get closer to the $1 million would mean laying off 10 employees, leaving only three workers to run the entire library, and even then they would be short by about $150,000.

“We would have no library service in San Bernardino,” Clark said.

He is working with staff to find alternatives.

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