SAN FRANCISCO Oct 2 At least 21 of Atwater,
California's roughly 80 employees will receive layoff notices, a
representative for one of its labor unions said on Tuesday, as
city officials try to balance the books and avoid taking a step
toward a bankruptcy filing for their city.
The city of about 28,000 residents in California's Central
Valley faces a budget gap of more than $3 million, which has
prompted officials to say they would consider declaring a fiscal
emergency, a move that could open the door to a bankruptcy
If Atwater seeks Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection from its
creditors, it would be the fourth city in the most populous U.S.
state to do so this year.
Like other cities in inland parts of California, Atwater has
fallen on hard times due to a plunge in property tax revenue.
To help plug Atwater's budget gap, city officials plan to
fire six police officers, three managers and 12 non-safety
employees represented by the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said Nancy Vinson, a
business agent for the union.
Vinson also said remaining employees represented by AFSCME
will be asked for a 15 percent pay cut on top of the 10 percent
cut they previously accepted through furloughs.
In addition to cutting Atwater's payroll expenses and its
work force, city officials plan to raise water rates to increase
revenue, Vinson added. Atwater officials could not be reached
for comment on Tuesday.
City officials are scheduled to meet on Oct. 3 to review
fiscal measures and to discuss a fiscal emergency declaration.
Atwater is located about 62 miles (100 km) southeast of
Stockton, the first city in California to file for bankruptcy
Stockton, a city of 300,000 residents, sought Chapter 9
protection after 90 days of inconclusive mediation with its
By contrast, the city council of San Bernardino in July
authorized a bankruptcy filing after declaring a fiscal
emergency. A city of 210,000 residents 65 miles (104 km) east of
Los Angeles, San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 1.
Mammoth Lakes, a resort town of about 8,000 residents in
California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, filed for Chapter 9
protection on the heels of Stockton's filing.
Mammoth Lakes sought bankruptcy protection because it could
not afford to pay a $43 million legal judgment against it. That
dispute has since been settled and Mammoth Lakes later this
month will ask the judge hearing its bankruptcy case to dismiss
it, Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez said on