Adelanto on the brink of financial disaster

Rob McMillan Image
Saturday, June 28, 2014
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Adelanto city leaders are hoping voters will approve a tax increase to save the city from possible bankruptcy.

ADELANTO, Calif. (KABC) -- The City of Adelanto is on the brink of a financial disaster and local leaders are hoping residents will dig into their own pockets to keep the city afloat.

In November, the city will ask voters to approve a utility users tax. For the average family, that would mean an increase of about $30 per month.

Pete Walker Jr., who helps run a fireworks stand in Adelanto, said the city's problems started when George Air Force Base closed a few years ago.

"It dried up this whole area. It killed the city of Adelanto," Walker Jr. said.

Then the Great Recession hit. Now, Adelanto is a city with very little tax base.

"We have roads that need to be fixed that ain't fixed, there are a lot of problems," Adelanto resident Linda Gomez said.

Mayor Cari Thomas said the city can barely afford to pay for essential services, like police and fire, because of a lack of revenue.

"You can't buy a pair of shoes in town. We have a grocery store and a drug store and little restaurants and that's it," Thomas said.

Despite the need, many may not support the tax hike.

If the tax measure fails, bankruptcy is another option. Either way, the situation seems bleak.

"I just don't want to see us disincorporate. The city services that our residents are used to now, which we've already cut back to a bare minimum, would get even less and the thought of that scares me," Thomas said.