City of San Benito in debt

San Benito officials told Action 4 News that the national economic slowdown is hitting their city hard.

For the first time in 5 years their books are in the red.

San Benito Mayor Jack Garcia said that based on March 2010 numbers they TMre looking at a deficit of about $180,000,

The mayor blames the economic downturn, Our sales taxes have been low this is a trend that is going on across the state and the country." For the 1st time in 5 years the city leader told us they've seen their budget at its lowest.

But the mayor doesn TMt only blame the national trend but also the lack of traffic into San Benito.

We have the Los Indios Bridge as well as our revenues have been low from there, there TMs less crossings.

Action 4 also asked Garcia if former mayor Joe Hernandez played a part in the city's hardships with the recent law suits.

It hasn TMt impacted the budget at all | we budget for attorney fees every year. What really, if anything was the special election." That election costs tax payers about $10,000. To get themselves out of the deficit they're looking at different options.

What we TMre trying to do is set up some type of amnesty program maybe that it will go for 30 days, said Garcia. The program, the city hopes would collect more than a million dollars in outstanding fines.

But Garcia said realistically they're aiming for about $250,000.

The mayor wants San Benito residents to know this isn TMt panic mode, just small attempts to get back to black!

Garcia told Action 4 if passed, expect the amnesty program in the summer between June and July.