(May 22) ADELANTO—The city of Adelanto appears to be set on an inevitable course to become the second municipality in San Bernardino County to file for bankruptcy protection. Two years ago, San Bernardino, the county seat and the largest city in San Bernardino County, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. And while Adelanto’s leaders are casting about for ways to keep the city of 27,139 afloat financially, there have been increasingly poignant indicators that the fiscal battle in the desert city is being lost.
Mayor Cari Thomas, city manager Jim Hart, and finance director Onyx Jones have been seeking for more than a year to formulate a strategy to redress the hemorrhaging of red ink at City Hall, but have so far been unable to do so.
As the economic downturn of 2007 continued into each succeeding year, Adelanto was as hard hit as any of the cities in the county, with the possible exceptions of San Bernardino and Grand Terrace. For five years Adelanto managed to stagger forward, but as the end of fiscal year 2012-13 approached last June, city manager Hart dispensed with any pretense that the city could truly balance its budget. Projecting the city would end 2012-13 with a $2.6 million general fund deficit, Hart prepared an item calling for the declaration of a fiscal emergency, clearing the way for a citywide vote with regard to creating a taxing mechanism.
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