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Stockton City Manager Has Plan To Pull City Out Of Financial Dumpster

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STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton’s new city manager is speaking out about his plans to get the city of bankruptcy now that he says he has a clear picture of its challenges.

Kurt Wilson was named the city manager last month, and CBS13 sat down with him ahead of a reception in his honor.

He was promoted from within the city’s ranks after a nationwide search for a new city manager.

“I came in with eyes wide open knowing exactly what I was getting into,” he said.

Wilson first joined Stockton as deputy city manager in late 2012, shortly after the broke and crime-ridden city filed for bankruptcy.

The city has made deals with all but one of its major creditors who hold long-term bonds for pricy projects like the waterfront arena, a parking garage, and a proposed city hall building.

Wilson and attorneys are working in federal court to get Stockton’s bankruptcy exit plan approved.

We’re not going to be the same size or provide the same level of services before bankruptcy but we’re going to be in a stable place,” he said.

A priority for Wilson is making sure history doesn’t’ repeat itself.

I think there’s a tendency for people to say ‘Hey, once this is done, we are all better, now we can go back and spend,’ and we are going to have the fiscal discipline,” he said.

Part of the plan includes hiring more than 100 new police officers with funds from a voter-approved sales-tax hike.

Wilson says the city has made improvements to its financial forecast.

“We generally get our pension data so we know for the next, roughly three years what that cost is going to look like, we’ve historically carried debt that lasts 20-30 years,” he said. “So to fix that mismatch the city actually took the extraordinarily step of bringing in its own actuarial to do the math and figure out what those costs are going to look like.”

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