City of Claremore Issues Hiring, Spending Freeze

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 1:23 pm
By: News On 6

CLAREMORE, OK -- The City of Claremore has issued a hiring and spending freeze as a precaution to the economic uncertainty.

City departments can still purchase items necessary for operations. All capital projects have been reprioritized with some planned projects being put on hold.

"We really don't know what the economy is going to do. Taking these precautions before budget planning for the next fiscal year begins will allow us to better measure the financial health of the city," said City spokesperson Cassie Sowers.

Sowers said layoffs are not foreseen and city officials feel the cost-cutting efforts will help assure that.

"We're planning for the worst but hoping for the best," Sowers said. "Everything that our management staff is doing is in an effort to protect the jobs of our employees while continuing to provide necessary services to our citizens."

Some of the reasons for the precautions include Claremore's sales tax collections being down last month and the city recently learning it will be losing one of its larger utility revenue accounts, Sowers said.

The City Council hired the accounting firm Kolker and Kolker Inc., of Pryor, to assist in the preparation of current financial statements after losing its Finance Director in October 2008. The Kolkers expressed concern regarding the budgetary posture of the city and recommended taking a conservative stance regarding all city finances during the current fiscal year pending the completion of their work.

The new fiscal year begins July 1. Meetings to plan the 2009-2010 budget are scheduled to begin next month.