City of Jellico is broke; city workers not getting paid

City of Jellico is broke; city workers not getting paid

Posted:
Jellico city employees are not getting paid because there is no money in the budget. Jellico city employees are not getting paid because there is no money in the budget.
"It wasn't something that was brought to our attention," said Jellico Vice Mayor Venita Johnson. "It wasn't something that was brought to our attention," said Jellico Vice Mayor Venita Johnson.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

JELLICO (WATE) -  Jellico city employees were supposed to be paid on Monday, but that paycheck never arrived.

City officials say they are currently broke and are unsure when they will be able to pay the city's nearly 25 workers.   

Surprisingly, even some of Jellico's city leaders were unaware of how bad the situation had become.

"It wasn't something that was brought to our attention," said Jellico Vice Mayor Venita Johnson. "They said our fund were running low. They didn't say how low they were running."

Johnson says she did not know city employees had not been paid until Tuesday. She blames Jellico Mayor Les Stiers for keeping the entire council in the dark. 

Johnson says Stiers still has not spoken to her about what happened. She is unsure how the city is going to fix the problem.

"That is something that will need to be took up with the mayor because at this time, since I was the last to know about the situation, I can't answer that," said Johnson.

Mayor Stiers was supposed to talk to 6 News at City Hall Wednesday night, but he never came out of the building to face our cameras.

People who live in Jellico are very concerned about what this means for the city.

"You're dumbfounded," said Jellico resident Charles Leach. "The city go that long without letting people know they don't have any money."

"I think he should step down and let someone else,  at least they could be going by the rules and ordinances and resolutions," said Jellico resident Carolyn Leach.

City employees we spoke with declined to go on camera for fear of losing their jobs. They said this is the first time they have not been paid, and are now unsure how long they will stay on the job without a paycheck.

City officials are fearing the worse.

"I'm afraid it might go into bankruptcy," said Johnson.

City officials say the city is $300,000 in debt. Officials hope when property taxes come in they will be able to start paying their employees again, but that might not happen until the middle of November.

This budget crisis is supposed to be discussed at Thursday night's city council meeting. It will start at 6 p.m.

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