LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Problems keep mounting at Wells City Hall which has residents fired up enough to run for city council.
A part-time court clerk has uncovered $500,000 in unpaid tickets sitting in boxes of documents at city hall. The discovery only adding to the city's problems.
"I was just kind of floored when she presented it to us," said Robert Kalka, Mayor Pro-tem.
Few things surprise Kalka, after the city's budget crisis, and the police chief's firing. Now comes a lawsuit against Wells for wrongful termination, and it won't be cheap to fight.
"Through the insurance there's $25K deductible. Of course, if we have to hire another attorney - it could be pretty high," said Kalka.
Kalka says finances might not be a worry if someone had logged those unpaid tickets dating back almost 15 years.
The long-time supervisor at city hall refused to comment when asked how so many tickets could go unpaid for so many years.
Even worse, attached to some tickets are money orders that were never deposited to the city's account. Most have expired - not worth the paper they're printed on.
"There's always got to be an accountability system in any job - if you don't the job breaks down," said Kalka.
That's why some say it's time for change. The current state of Wells has long-time resident John Thomas fighting for one of three contested city council seats.
"Wells is a proud, proud town. The people I've met here have all been good... But sometimes pride is kind of blindsided. You're proud of how things used to be and your not really seeing what's going on now," said Thomas.
City officials are expecting a strong voter turn-out.
No matter who's on the council, Kalka says they need to work together.