San Bernardino moved forward with a contentious budget that included cuts and deferred payments as part of its bid to satisfy the bankruptcy court. But the hotly contested and split-vote could allow creditors to argue that the city is not fully committed to addressing its fiscal challenges.
The plan, approved on a 5-2 vote, further reduces the size of the police force by eliminating 8 vacant positions, bringing the total number of sworn officers to 260. The peak size of the police department was 350. But the decision to downsize the force was called reckless and dangerous by the two council members who voted against the plan. Instead, they wanted a plan that included cuts to administration and more community feedback.
Also included in the plan was a call to increase pension contribution rates by employees, meaning that the remaining employees would bring home less money.
Even holding the vote was a step forward for a city that had paralyzed itself with infighting and the challenges associated with bankruptcy. In recent weeks, meetings have been postponed due to absenteeism and deteriorated into shouting matches.
Read the full story at the San Bernardino Sun.