- Posted July 11, 2012 by
San Bernardino, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Economy: Are you better off?
San Bernardino BK Shocks California
It is the home of the world famous 'Route 66 Rendezvous' car show each September - I have gone 20 years in a row.
Many famous singers, including the 'Rolling Stones', have played here...and sang about the city. 'Stator Bros' grocery chain has it's headquarters here.
Now, the city of 209,000 here in Southern California has shocked residents tonight at the city council meeting by voting 4 to 2 to seek bankruptcy protection.
The shocking vote came at the suggestion of the interim city manager, who said the city faces a $46-million deficit, and that the city payroll is in danger.
The city's money crisis has been years in the making, with the severe recession hitting in 2008, escalating pension costs, generous labor agreements, the state's ending of redevelopment funds and the depletion of the city's general fund.
Here in Reche Canyon, we seem to live a world away from the problems. But downtown 'San Berdoo' is only a 10 minute freeway ride away, and we just attended the grand opening of the new downtown movie house - a building that the city sank $3M into, hoping to lure business to the depleted downtown area.
City Hall was packed for Tuesday's emergency council meeting, which had been called to discuss San Bernardino's bleak finances. Bankruptcy was the unexpected outcome of the meeting.
It will be at least 30 days before the BK is actually filed.
What major US City will be next? What about the states? Will the state of California also have to declare BK?
Photos by Al Mealey