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Joint Water Agency OKs audit of water billing error

By Kayleigh Rahn
The Arcola/Tuscola Joint Water Agency board, in a special meeting at Tuscola City Hall on Thursday, May 31, approved a service proposal for accounting services in hopes of reconciling a billing error.

The accounting firm May, Cocagne, & King was approved by the board to reconcile the billing error for an estimated cost of $3,120, or a billing rate of $160 per hour.

The billing error has been cited to a meter reading error on one of the two meters from the City of Arcola to West Prairie Water Company, according to notes from Tuscola City Administrator Drew Hoel.

Arcola and Tuscola jointly own a 14″ water transmission line connecting the cities to their source water supply from Illinois American Water Company. The joint agency board is responsible for the oversight of the operation of the jointly owned water transmission line.

“The City of Arcola sells water to the West Prairie Water Company, up to 100,000 gallons per day,” Hoel’s notes read. “In addition to that amount the Joint Water Agency may sell up to 150,000 gallons per day to West Prairie. It appears that the City of Arcola may have sold more than 100,000 gallons per day for several years due to an error in netting out the two different meters to West Prairie.”

This amount of water should have been billed by the Joint Agency, including the 30 percent upcharge that is charged over the wholesale rates. The City of Arcola will owe the cumulative amount of the error to the Joint Agency, which is owned by Tuscola and Arcola.

“The two city staff have reconciled that the amount was approximately $168,500 give or take $30 or $40 either way,” Tuscola City Administrator Drew Hoel said. “Our next step is to have an independent review of that. It’s important that we have an outside, independent look at that reconciliation so that we can come to an exact number to verify or dispute the methodology and the numbers.”

Tuscola City Treasurer Alta Long completed the solicitation of accounting services. The Agency hoped to have an experienced firm that has never worked with either city or West Prairie Water Company, she said.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, June 6 edition of The Tuscola Journal.


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