SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — The San Bernardino City Council was unable to muster enough votes to pass a measure to study the potential outsourcing of the fire department on Monday night.
The city of San Bernardino, which recently filed bankruptcy this year, is looking to save as much money as possible, prompting the mayor to push for a new plan considering the outsourcing of fire services to the county.
“We are belly to belly with six cities around us, delivering these services. Why not regionalize and save substantial dollars by regionalizing services?” San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris said.
It’s not known yet if the plan will lead to the closure of any of the city’s 12 firehouses or the loss of any jobs. Response times will also be a consideration.
“That will be problematic, even moving forward. You know, how much service can we really afford as a city?” Councilman Rikke Van Johnson said.
Morris says outsourcing fire services could save millions of dollars. However, outsourcing fire services could be avoided if the department’s union leaders come to the table to make concessions, he said.
“We can afford what we can afford. Our budget has been balanced. That’s why we are in bankruptcy,” Morris said.
The council voted three-to-two in favor of the study, but the measure was unable to pass due to the lack of a majority of four votes. The mayor may only vote in the case of a tie.
City residents are having a hard time swallowing the idea of outsourcing services.
“Don’t cut the fire and the police department. It is well needed here,” one resident said.