in Houston, Texas
After $140K inside theft, ballooning miscellaneous expenses, tiny Gregory, Texas, can’t afford its auditor
Tuesday, Oct 02, 2012, 01:45PM CST
By Steve Miller
Humpty Dumpty

There once was a town that was so broke it couldn’t even afford to pay an auditor to help it put the pieces back together.

"First, we have to get our books straight," said Tino Zambrano, mayor pro-tem of Gregory, Texas, in a story in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

The town, population 2,300, could start its fiscal recovery by addressing how a $600 office chair and $30 trash cans for City Hall were approved, as this story points out. The math behind spending $42,000 for miscellaneous expenses when $4,250 was budgeted could also be explored by the auditor the city can’t afford.

The town was contracted to pay this auditor $12,000, but, what with the trash cans and the office chairs, things are a little tight. Add to that the alleged inside theft of around $140,000, for which a city employee was arrested a couple of weeks ago, and Gregory is vying for the title of most messed-up city in Texas. Such a mention would add to the dubious honor of being ranked the 3rd most risky place to live in the U.S. in terms of potential natural disaster.

The city is raising its property tax rate by five cents per $100 valuation as a start on coping with the adventurous city spending. On Monday, a $170,000 payment on a $3 million loan is due by the city, but it will only be able to pay the interest portion, $68,000. The rest of the payment is due 10 days later.

The town claims to be plagued by drainage problems that result in frequent flooding. In June, the town was upbeat about some federal money that would help it deal with the trouble. No word on the status of that bailout.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Illustration by flickr user merlinprincesse, used via a Creative Commons license.

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