It did not get enough votes during a San Bernardino City Council meeting on Monday, so the council will not look into the possibility of outsourcing fire services at this time.
The measure, introduced by Councilman Fred Shorett, previously failed by one vote.
Mayor Pat Morris has said earlier that, as sad as it sounds, for a bankrupt city it all comes down to the bottom line.
"Our ultimate challenge as a city is to balance the budget. We have to live within our means. We haven't been doing that," said Morris.
Meantime, San Bernardino City Councilman Robert Jenkins, who faces allegations of stalking and identity theft, showed up to the council meeting but did not answer questions from reporters about the charges against him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.