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Elk City employees received unauthorized water and sewer bill discounts

For nearly three decades, Elk City officials granted city employees unauthorized discounts on water and sewer bills, according to a state audit released Monday.
by Randy Ellis Modified: September 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm •  Published: September 25, 2013

ELK CITY — For nearly three decades, Elk City officials granted unauthorized water and sewer bill discounts to current and retired city employees, according to a state audit released Monday.

City officials also ignored an antiquated city charter that legally required them to competitively bid purchases that exceeded $200, auditors said.

Instead of following the proper procedure of amending the charter, city officials for years chose to follow less restrictive city ordinances, auditors said.

The findings were part of a report issued by state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones in response to a petition from Elk City registered voters. Auditors examined a lengthy list of complaints and found many were unfounded, but identified some valid concerns.

City Manager Anita Archer did not return telephone calls seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

The report criticized city officials for granting city employees discounts on their water and sewer bills.

“The practice/custom was that city employees would be billed the minimum water/sewer rates based on whatever the prevailing minimum billing was in effect at the time regardless of the actual water use,” the audit said. “There was no authority for the discounted services.”

The city manager estimated as many as 120 to 150 current and former employees received discounts on their water and sewer bills every year, auditors reported.

Auditors estimated the annual lost revenue to the city at $445 per account, after examining a sampling of employee billing account histories.

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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