Gordon Thompson not only is a longtime Vernon resident, he was also an employee of the city for twenty-four years. He's surprised about the city's dire financial straights, saying it didn't used to be this way
"The city was always solvent, they paid all their bills and all their employees insurance and all that so everything was alright," Thompson explained.
Even though city leaders dipping into the Employee Benefit Trust without council permission to pay Vernon's debts is not illegal, that doesn't make it right, according to Thompson.
"If they were going to do that they should have had some kind of approval before they did it. For the employees, I think they have less trust in their management now."
And some residents share that mistrust.
"I think it's very poor leadership. Even though they know it, they don't care," said Vernon resident Pedro Nieves.
Many residents weren't aware of Vernon's dollar dilemma.
Texoma resident Denton Werley said, "I'm sort of shocked, I didn't know they were in trouble."
A resident of Vernon since 1946, Henry Sims said, "I can't figure it out. I just cant see them filing for bankruptcy."
But one Vernon man saw this coming.
"We figured it was coming a long time ago," Vernon resident Randy Overby said. "We had too many good old boys up in office that didn't take care of business right and now they're paying the price for it."
Gordon Thompson says that Vernon, a town he's called home since the 50s, needs to look back on their mistakes and learn from them.
"They need to look for someone who can physically maintain the monetary value of the city," warned Thompson.
Some residents we spoke with had concerns about Vernon raising taxes to help make up their debts. Mayor Joe Rogers says the city is looking to implement hard cuts, rather than passing that on to the taxpayer.