The city of Atwater has joined the unglamorous ranks of cities who are facing further, painful cuts, or even bankruptcy. Just three years after the city enjoyed a reserve fund with $4.37 million, they are now $3.7 million in the red.

It’s already cost the city manager her job. The next steps, however, haven’t been decided. That’s because the city isn’t sure what happened to all the reserve dollars. Answering that question will take time, and $20,000 for a consultant. The audit that should have come up with the answers hasn’t been completed yet. So everything is on the table: fire station closures, staffing cuts, pay cuts, and even bankruptcy.

The community, however, is demanding action. Some want the Council to forgo their pay and benefits until the mess is straightened out. That would save $39,000.

Read the full story at the Modesto Bee.