City audit committee still waiting for lost sewer revenue numbers

Staff were unable to report revenues lost due to the non-billing of customers during Blue Ribbon Audit Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Posted: Oct 1, 2019 8:27 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  --  The City of St. joseph's Blue Ribbon Audit Committee is still waiting for exact numbers as to how many customers have been undercharged on their sewer bills.

City staff briefed committee members Tuesday afternoon, but did not have the answers.

This summer, an audit of sewer billing practices showed that up to 150 customers had not been sent sewer bills, some for as long as four years.

They say they discovered a fault in their process of identifying new customers to be billed after they begin service. 

Some have estimated the city has lost out on $500,000 to $1 million in revenues per year.

 "The numbers reported earlier, these large numbers, they say, 'No, that's not true,'" said Mayor Bill McMurray. "So I said, 'Show me what is true.' We haven't seen the report yet. Somebody has to know because they're doing a report every month. They didn't have the numbers with them today."

Staff say they bill between 25,000 -27,000 customers each month and that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with new customers adding service, those using septic tanks and those discontinuing service.

Committee members also asked for clearer, more concise reports in the future so they can better understand the exact financial status of the city.

At one point during the meeting while reviewing another budget, members were incorrectly led to believe that the city had been deficit spending by $200,000 for the year.

Saint Joseph
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A very weak cold front has moved through Wednesday night and will continue to give us the chance for showers and thunderstorms across the area once again on Thursday night and Friday morning. Temperatures will remain in the low 90s through Saturday.
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