BELL, Calif.–An all-new Bell City Council was sworn into office last night, pledging to turn around the scandal-plagued and financially troubled city.

“This is a new beginning for Bell,” Councilwoman Violeta Alvarez told the crowd at the Bell Community Center after taking the oath of office from Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

Councilman Ali Saleh told KCAL9 that he hopes the new council members will be able to “rebuild what has been damaged.”

“We can be a model city to the whole community that is watching us, the whole nation,” Saleh said. “All of us five will work together to make the city better and have all the community involved, not only the councilmen.”

Councilwoman Ana Maria Quintana told KCAL9 she will seek to make the city’s residents “much more in tune with what goes on in City Hall,” including televising City Council meetings.

Councilman Danny Harber told KCAL9 the top issue facing the council is the budget. The city is facing a $3.5 million to $4.5 million budget deficit, which could prompt the council to disband the city’s police department and contract with the sheriff’s department for police services.

“We’ve got to have enough money to try to keep our police department,” Harber told KCAL9. “We’ve got to figure out how to create more revenue.”

Councilman Nestor Enrique Valencia told KCAL9 that his top priorities are “keeping our streets clean,” providing community services and public safety.

The first City Council meeting with the new members is scheduled for Monday.

The five new council members were elected March 8, but their swearing-in ceremony was delayed because most of the previous council have been indicted on public corruption charges, leaving the city without any leadership. Bell law requires the City Council to declare election results official after they are certified by the city clerk.

However, a judge’s Feb. 17 order requiring Mayor Oscar Hernandez and council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal to stay at least 100 yards away from City Hall made it impossible for the council to have a quorum meet to certify the results of the March 8 election.

To remedy that problem, Lara authored AB93, giving the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors the authority to declare the results official in the absence of a functioning city council.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown March 21 and took effect immediately.

The board certified the raw election data March 22. That data was then sent to Bell’s city clerk, who made her own certification and returned the results to the board, which gave its final approval Tuesday.

Eight Bell city officials–including four sitting council members–were charged with a variety of corruption charges for allegedly bilking public funds through hefty salaries and loans of taxpayer dollars.

Bell voters recalled Jacobo and elected replacements for her, Hernandez and Mirabal, who did not seek re-election, and former Councilman Luis Artiga, who had already resigned.

The fifth council member, Lorenzo Velez, the only incumbent who was not indicted, was defeated in his re-election bid.