LAWTON,Okla_The $8.5 million dollar gap in next year's budget was the hot topic of yet another budget workshop in Lawton Wednesday. The City Council hashed out some of the ideas they received at Tuesday night's City Council meeting as well as reviewed yet another budget proposal from City Manager Bryan Long.
Employee furloughs, a gate fee for the city landfill and various other cuts from programs city wide were among the ideas discussed. But all of these changes are 'too little, too late' in the eyes of the mayor. They're approaching their June 20th deadline and Mayor Fred Fitch was hoping the council could've come up with a more definite solution.
"We didn't accomplish what I would like to. I think we got into to much detail trying to micro manage some of the areas of the city that is going to take a lot more time and study put in and other people's input before we make those changes," says Fitch.
He says the best and most effective solution at this point is to stick to the $4.55 utility surcharge plus the 10% rate increase on the water bill to make up the difference.
There was some good news out of Wednesday's meeting. After taking a look at individual budgets city-wide, the department of directors was able to find another $600,000.
City Manager Bryan Long has been diligent about finding more cuts and he wants to remind residents, we are not in debt and one way or another will not start the next fiscal year in the hole.
"We hear about the number negative 8 million that currently being talked about in the budget process ,what's important for people to understand is we're having these difficult discussions now so that we don't end up in a position where we are indebted."
The council made it clear they want to keep the cuts as painless as possible and save as many jobs as possible. They will have another budget workshop this Friday at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.