BELL (CBS) — Bell Councilman Lorenzo Velez urged his colleagues Friday morning to start showing up at meetings so that crucial decisions can be made about the city’s financial future.

Velez is the only City Council member not facing corruption charges.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports members of the Bell City Council are being asked to stop leading the city down the path to bankruptcy.

“The council members are holding the city hostage,” Velez said at a press conference Friday morning at Bell City Hall. “We need to address the $3.5-million budget deficit. There are very tough decisions that need to be made.”

The council has met only three times in the last five months and on one of those occasions Mayor Oscar Hernandez and Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo—both who are facing corruption charges– walked out after being heckled by the crowd. Both are facing criminal charges and both have called in sick to meetings repeatedly.

Without a quorum, the city has been forced to cancel meetings and has failed to vote on important budget cuts. The city faces a deficit of $3.5 million to $4.5 million and could be unable to pay its bills as early as May unless significant expenses are cut. Among the options the council is considering is whether to disband the Police Department, which eats up 67% of the general fund.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (4)
  1. don S says:

    Stop paying anyone who does not show up. No work no money. Then fire them , Plenty of qualified people out of work. Pay all city workers min wage until problems worked out . Then make max salaries equal to median income for residents. Make all workers subject to social security. Terminate ALL PRIVATE RETIREMENT PLANS FOR CITY WORKERS. No more princes and pauipers.

    1. Jose Lopez says:

      Don S. for Bell mayor!!!!!

  2. Rose N. says:

    Am I wrong, or according to Robert’s Rules of order, if a member misses 3 consecutive meetings they are deemed to have resigned and can then be replaced?

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