The water fall in front of the Atwater City Hall is shut off. City employees take furlough days once a week and officials have given up their health insurance. These are all efforts to try and cleanup a huge financial mess.
Mayor of Atwater Joan Faul says, "We have a cash flow problem, we have a problem in paying our employees every two weeks."
Cutting corners is simply not working to chip away the city's deepening $3.2 million debt.
"Our expenses are $11.5 million a year, our revenue is only $10 million. If we don't do anything it's gonna be up to $4 million, so we have to act quickly," says Frank Pietro, Atwater Police Chief and Interim City Manager.
Police Chief Frank Pietro has been with the city for more than 30 years. He recently took on the role as Interim City Manager, following the suspension and Monday night's termination of former City Manager, Kathy Kivley. He hopes to solve this dire problem.
Pietro says, "Hitting the employees would be the last thing that we need to do, in regards to either layoffs or pay cuts, or more pay cuts."
But these are still possibilities. Mayor Joan Faul says so is bankruptcy.
Mayor Faul says, "That could be an option, we are studying that."
Other options would be to close one of the city's two firehouses or the Community Recreation Center. Atwater Resident Don Rogers doesn't like that idea.
Rogers says, "Cutting back on central services I don't think is the way to go, but they could possibly cut down on the overhead with high priced executives."
Mayor Faul is on the same page as her neighbors. Monday night she took a big step toward getting her city back on it's feet, and donated a significant portion of her own salary back to the general fund.
"We are gonna have to get through this together. We are all in this community, we're all partners," says Mayor Faul.
An outside auditor has been hired to assess the city's situation. Results from that should be released on Thursday. City officials expect this to shed some light on what direction they need to go.
Officials would not give a reason for firing the former city manager. They also could not confirm whether it had to do with these financial problems.