LA trader: “if stockton was a surprise, i dont know where you’ve been for the last 3 months.” Still, a LOT of stockton bonds put out to bid
— Taylor Riggs (@TaylorRiggs_BB) June 27, 2012
The City Council of Stockton, California voted this week to adopt a “pendency budget” in preparation for filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which will place the city under the protection of the bankruptcy court and stay all legal actions against it. This maneuver gives the city some breathing room to come to an agreement with its creditors, especially bondholders and retirees, over how to reduce what the city owes them. This comes after months of Stockton being under a state-imposed “mediation period” in which these kinds of negotiations were voluntary.
Reuters’ Jim Christie reports on the background of the story:
Stockton’s city council voted six to one in favor of the 2012-2013 budget after a contentious five-hour meeting where angry retired city workers pressed council members to reject the $155 million spending plan. It proposes eliminating retirees’ medical benefits to help fill a $26 million budget deficit…
…Stockton officials have said since February their city’s finances are suffering the combined effects of fiscal mismanagement over two decades, too much debt taken on in good times and generous pay and unsustainable benefits for city employees and retirees.
Stockton has also suffered a sharp drop in revenue since the collapse of its once red-hot housing market. The housing boom transformed the farming city into a distant bedroom community of the San Francisco Bay area and its bust put Stockton at or near the top of national foreclosure rankings in recent years.