Area city under investigation

Area city under investigation

Fritch, TX - The City of Fritch is facing serious financial problems, and now the Texas Attorney General's Office is getting involved.

More than 50 people attended a meeting Tuesday night in Fritch to hear how the city got into so much financial trouble. Interim City Manager John Horst said the city is having issues paying back debt because funds went missing.

Horst said the Attorney General's Office subpoenaed financial documents from the previous city manager, council members and the city's auditor. He said city officials are scrounging up what documents they can to help solve the mystery of the missing funds. "Employee loans, employee expenditures that can't be explained such as plane tickets for a husband and wife team, where one of them worked for the city and the other did not. Various things like that," explained Horst about the types of documents they have given to the state.

Some residents said they are concerned because they don't want to pay for the mistakes of past city officials. Their main issue involves the recent $12 surcharge tacked on to their water bills every month. The city added the charge as a way to pay back a delinquent account payable of more than $400,000 from 2011.

Horst said city officials hope indictments will be brought against the people responsible for getting Fritch into such a financial mess. However, he said the $12 surcharge to help ease the city's debt will not be going away any time soon.

"I don't want people to have a false hope that it's going to go away," said Horst. "Because we have so many things to do to get back in compliance with our water systems and sewer systems. It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of money."

Horst said city officials still have no idea just how much money was stolen from city funds.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10