County supervisors have voted to join the long list of San Bernardino creditors and may sue the bankrupt city.
The municipality filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in August after learning it faced a $46 million budget shortfall.
The county says San Bernardino owes $1.5 million in tipping fees from trash collected by the city's waste department and taken to the county's Rialto dump.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the supervisors voted in closed session Tuesday to seek bankruptcy court debt clarification and to sue to get the money if necessary.
The City Council approved an austerity plan earlier this week that slashes more than $26 million in spending and freezes debt payments.
The austerity plan is a requirement in the federal bankruptcy process.