Some employees for the city of Lawton will be getting a four-day weekend over the Memorial Day holiday, but they are not necessarily celebrating. On Friday, all non-essential employees of the city are being forced to take a mandatory, unpaid furlough day going into the holiday weekend.

The non-optional day was being implemented by the city as a cost-cutting measure in an attempt to balance the city budget. Each furlough day implemented throughout the year sees an estimated $160,000 saving for the city. This is the second furlough day

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incurred during the current fiscal year, with the first coming on the Friday immediately before Christmas. City manager Jerry Ihler states the money saved by furloughs will be used to give long awaited merit pay increases to deserved employees.

Ihler stated the city is aware that these days are not popular with its employees, and that the city hopes to avoid them during the 2018 fiscal year. Essential employees were not immune from furlough days, as these employees saw there days earlier in the year. Police and fire departments will remain fully staffed over the holiday weekend, as will the city's water treatment facility and water plant.

Proposals to balancing the 2018 budget include selling unused city properties, including a 3.26 acre plot of land near Lake Ellsworth, three unused city park sites and the 3.5 acre Airport Park site in the south Lawton industrial ares near SW 3rd Street. the city is currently formalizing details on several of these proposed sales.

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story courtesy of KSWO, The Lawton Constitution