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May 30, 2014

Duncan City Treasurer Clift resigns

DUNCAN —    Duncan City Treasurer Patti Clift has resigned without citing a specific reason for her departure, City Manager Jim Frieda said Thursday.

     “She was a valued employee. She’s been here three years and got us through some tough times,” Frieda said. “It’s a loss. That’s all I can say.”

    Frieda said he “can’t give a reason or opinion on why” Clift left her post.

     Clift submitted a letter of resignation on March 25, giving an effective date of May 31, Frieda said.

     She did not cite a specific reason in her resignation letter.

     Clift, a certified public accountant,  served three simultaneous roles with the city as  treasurer, finance director and city clerk. She was appointed by Frieda after he was named city manager in January 2010.

     The city has struggled recently with cash flow issues.

     In April, Frieda and Clift acknowledged the city “borrowed” $922,000 from its capital improvement projects fund  to meet the city payroll, which normally is paid with monies from the city operating budget.

     The CIP fund was reimbursed with money taken out of the city’s emergency reserve funds that were  held in a money market account and U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, Clift said.

 The CIP fund receives one-cent of the 8.7 percent sales tax collected in the city. The city’s operating fund receives two-cents of the sales tax.    

     Revenue to fund the city’s operating budget has been falling due to  14 months of water rationing, which has caused water usage to fall along with sales revenue.

     Clift said in April water and sewer rates would have to be increased, but not action has been taken by the council. The last increase in water and sewer rates was approved  in 2011.

     The City Council on May 13 approved an 8 percent increase in rates charged by Duncan Power, the city-owned electric utility, to offset increases in the cost of wholesale electricity it pays to the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority.

    “Cash flow, I would anticipate, will be on the increase based on what we did with the electric rates,” Frieda said.



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