City Council votes to save residents $1

City Council votes to save residents $1

LAWTON, Okla._Come July 1st, Lawton residents will not see a dollar surcharge on their water bill, after all.

This comes after City Council voted Tuesday night to approve an amendment to Lawton's 2016 fiscal year budget. The surcharge was originally approved to restore twice-a-week trash pick-up, but after reworking the budget, city officials made additional cuts to come up with the funds needed, and remove the dollar fee.

City Manager Jerry Ihler said Tuesday that while this year's budget posed a few different problems and called for an amendment to be made just a couple weeks after its approval, the process wasn't any longer than normal.

A preliminary 2016 fiscal year budget was submitted to City Council at the beginning of May and included cutting 40 jobs. Council asked city administrators to go back and look at the expenditures to try and alleviate such drastic cuts.

"[We] made some reductions in our 200 accounts to come up with similar numbers in our general budget," Ihler said.

In the second budget that was presented to Council, Ihler said there was some confusion on the staff level about the reduction in the number of positions.

"There was just some confusion in what was added, what was a transfer, what was vacant, what had been filled," he said.

Ilher said part of the confusion stems from the transitions within the city manager position.

"We've had three city managers now in the last six weeks," he said.

The approval of tonight's amended budget includes a reduction of sixteen positions. Ihler stressed those sixteen positions were all vacant, so no one be will be losing their job.

He said the position cuts, as well as a reimbursement from the 2005 CIP, along with cuts made to capital outlays helped them to come up with the $440,000 needed to remove the $1 trash-pick up surcharge.

Council also voted to install Ihler as the new City Manager. He has been on the job as an interim basis. He was hired for an indefinite term, subject to regular reviews by the Council.