HAZLETON -- The mayor of Hazleton warns the city may not have enough money to meet next week's payroll.
But city council believes it has a solution, at least in the short term.
Officials believe they'll get an advance from the Hazleton City Authority which runs the water systems.
But that may only help cover the city's next two paydays, meaning Hazleton could find itself in a similar bind at the end of next month.
The math makes people at city hall nervous. Hazleton has $142,000 in the bank, but it needs $233,000 by next Friday to make payroll.
Hazleton City Council President Jack Mundie is an accountant and says he was blindsided by those numbers.
"This should have been projected three, four, five months ago," said Mundie. "It should be, like, 'the next month, we're running out of money.' That's wrong right there in itself."
On Wednesday, Mundie received an email from Mayor Jeff Cusat about the shortfall.
Mundie blames the mayor, claiming he's added too many people to the payroll and overestimated tax collections.
"We had close to a balanced budget this year, and if we passed the balanced budget, you have to follow that budget."
The city will likely make next week's payroll because the Hazleton City Authority, which runs the water department, agreed to advance a half year's payment of $219,000.
But that payment may only help Hazleton make its next two payrolls. More revenue is likely needed.
In Hazleton's working-class Heights district, businesses and homeowners want the same thing. They want workers to get paid, so long as taxes aren't raised to accomplish that.
"Everybody likes to get paid. We all work hard, and we all expect our paychecks," said resident Judy Sell.
"We all pay city taxes here," added Debbie Corradin. "I just think it's really terrible, I think there should be some other solution to the problem."
Mundie says the city needs to get expenses under control before another payroll crunch hits, possibly at the end of October.
Mayor Jeff Cusat is out of town and unavailable for comment.
Mundie says Hazleton may have to consider layoffs to avoid a future payroll crisis, though he says any layoffs would not include police officers or firefighters.