Stockton city leaders met for a town hall meeting with residents, and together they discussed the ongoing financial challenges that are facing the city.

The meeting lasted more than two hours, and Mayor Ann Johnston and City Manager Bob Dies answered the questions posed by the 100 or so attendees. They even waited out a protest by representatives of the Occupy movement.

Throughout the meeting, city officials stressed the steps being taken now do not mean the city is heading to bankruptcy. In fact, the AB 506 process is designed to avoid bankruptcy. However, they presented three options for a balanced budget: deep cuts to personnel and salaries, a successful AB 506 negotiation, or bankruptcy. The city has until July 1 to adopt a balanced budget.

Should the city look to further impose cuts on employees, the city would have to cut 64 police officers, close two fire stations, and instill other cuts. In the opinion of the city leaders, those cuts are both unsafe and unwise.

From the Stockton Record:

By July 1, Stockton has to adopt a balanced budget by one of three options – slashing more services and staff, prevailing at restructuring its debt in mediation with creditors or plunging headlong into bankruptcy.

Mayor Ann Johnston and City Manager Bob Deis presented these options for Stockton and facts and figures underpinning Stockton’s crisis in the first town hall meeting organized by City Hall.

Read the full article here.