Realizing you need to file bankruptcy to save your personal finances can be a frightening thing. But, for many, once the process begins, there is a sense of relief: you're now on the long road to financial health. So what happens when your personal finances are fine, but the city you live in is on the verge of bankruptcy?
The citizens of Edcouch, Texas, are finding that out.
Edcouch, a town of 4,400 in southern Texas, is struggling to stay afloat, reports The Monitor.
After laying off 75% of its 21-person work force in September, the city's law enforcement staff now reportedly only consists of a police chief, one detective, and an interim city administrator who's paid a $100 weekly stipend.
In an effort to further reduce unnecessary spending, the city removed 103 unused trash bins which had been costing $1,800 a month to maintain, according to the Monitor.
Though such cutbacks have apparently helped to stabilize the city's finances, greater changes are needed. Sources say Edcouch is $1.2 million in debt and its only sources of tax revenue are a few convenience stores and restaurants.
So why hasn't the town gone to file bankruptcy yet?
Apparently, officials are hoping for change. Currently operating on a $55,000 loan until property tax revenues begin coming in later this year, the city is reportedly reluctant to declare bankruptcy because of the potential blow to the morale of its citizens.
Some claim the city's financial troubles worsened under the former city administrator, who resigned this August after allegations that he starved and disposed of the city's stray dogs, according to reports. The interim administrator allegedly hopes to stay afloat by getting a debt consolidation loan in the coming months.
The Monitor reports that many of Edcouch's residents view bankruptcy as a last ditch effort that wouldn't be very helpful to the city. And it seems they're determined to do all they can to keep the city churning away until something happens.
Residents have reportedly taken to performing city maintenance duties themselves. One main apparently mows the lawns of and clears the brush from vacant lots, in an effort to maintain the visual quality of the town. Others, according to sources, are volunteering at City Hall by answering phones and completing paperwork.
One man has organized neighbors to help him fix potholes in the streets, the Monitor notes.
And the lack of city officials is becoming evident, according to some. Some claim they've seen more speeding with the reduced police force, and some have allegedly bought more durable locks for their homes.
The town of Edcouch is struggling through the financial difficulties many bankrupt Americans face-and its residents are feeling the effects.