Lumberton officials hold meeting over financial emergency

Lumberton held a special Town Hall meeting Thursday - the topic of concern was the city's finances. Now the city's money troubles have residents wondering what will happen.

"We need the county's help," said Mayor Aaron Lott, who is suggesting he and other Lumberton leaders make the first sacrifices.

Lott, backed-up by councilwoman Nell Busby, went before the Lamar County Board of Supervisors Thursday morning.

Lott said his city is already $45,000 dollars in debt and by the end of the month, he expects the debt the climb to about $200,000 dollars. Lott blamed irresponsible spending by city leaders over the past year.

"We really need to bring in a CPA to look at the books. The problem is we don't have the money to pay one."

Lott added he was unable to sign checks for many city workers.

After presenting his case, Lott asked the county to take over the city's garbage collection, road repairs and police protection, which are the city's largest payout areas. The supervisors agreed to meet with city and state officials next week to try and work out a plan of action.

Lott said, "Even if they do help in three departments, we're still going to have to make cuts in order to make it through the year. It's not necessarily ways that we can cut back, it's ways that we're going to have to cut back and it's going to cost people jobs, it's going to cost the city running on a shoe string budget for not just the rest of this year. This is a two year problem, at best."

Part of the cuts could also be coming from the salaries of city officials, Lott is asking the city council to approve a measure cutting their own salaries, which lott says would save the city about $25,000. It's a measure Lott says he tried to pass times already.

The next meeting between city, county and state officials will be held at the courthouse in Purvis Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Lott said, "Every little bit is gone help, but the first thing that must happen, is we must sacrifice ourselves before we sacrifice the jobs or our workers."