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Waurika faces $100K debt, city officials resign

WAURIKA, Okla._The City of Waurika is going through a financial crisis right now, facing a $100,000 debt.

The city’s commission said they haven't received an itemized report from the treasurer in more than three months. On top of that, the mayor, the city manager and the city attorney resigned from office this week. That led to a special meeting Friday on how to keep the city afloat.

Virtually nothing was accomplished at the meeting, because of the mayor's resignation, there are only four people on the city commission now, which led to a couple of tie votes. They hope, within the next couple of months, to recruit someone to fill the empty seat on the commission, but for now, they are at a standstill.

City Commissioner Dale Spradlin is serving as the interim mayor. He has been on the commission since April 2014 and says he has never seen anything like this before.

"It was made known to us today that our bank statements have not been reconciled in several months. These are things that city treasurer is supposed to be doing. We had been led to believe that he was. We tried to take some action today," said Spradlin.

That action was the possible termination of City Treasurer Martin Seymour, but it failed when the commission split 2-2.

The stalemate was created after the mayor resigned, only three months into the job. Spradlin said he gave no reason for leaving. The city attorney said he had other obligations that were more pressing. Spradlin said City Manager Richard Hart stepped down, not because of a problem with the city commission, which was previously reported by another news outlet, but because of difficulty getting cooperation from city staff.

"Whenever he came to Waurika, we had some financial problems and he has worked hard and diligently to try to rectify a lot of those problems," explained Spradlin. "He was running into some road blocks. He was having some issues and he also was having a hard time trying to get good information about where we were financially."

Spradlin says he doesn't want citizens to lose heart, and that their city government is working to make things right once again.

"We are going to move forward and some of this negativity, and some of these things that are happening, it will pass and we will get some people in here that are going to do the job and do it right and life will be good in Waurika," said Spradlin.

As far as that financial hole they're in, Spradlin said the city is expecting to have to cut their budget by eight or nine percent in order to pay some of their creditors.

Spradlin says they don't know how they will be able to make those cuts, but he is hopeful that the city's revenue will rise through water sales now that Waurika Lake is back at full capacity.

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