Erie County, N. Y., Uncovers Nearly $1 Million in Overbilling

A portion of the $900,000 charged by Verizon for voice and data services has already been refunded.

by Mark Sommer, The Buffalo News / September 22, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

(TNS) — An audit found "significant overbilling" by Verizon for telephone voice and data services provided to Erie County government.

The audit concluded Verizon overbilled the county by approximately $900,000. A portion of the amount has already been refunded to Erie County, with the remainder to follow, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

About one-quarter of the refunded amount will be paid to Troy & Banks, the auditor, for uncovering the overbilling. The audit also uncovered overbilling of approximately $25,000 in utilities in the Public Works and Central Police Services departments, which was mostly refunded in 2016.

“This is a substantial amount of overbilling, and I thank Erie County Division of Information and Support Services Commissioner Michael Breeden, Budget Director Robert Keating, and the staff at Troy & Banks for working together to identify the issue and begin the refund process," Poloncarz said.

"Without their sharp eyes and vigilance this issue may have gone unresolved," he said. "This work shows what an actual, factual audit conducted with integrity can do to protect taxpayers and ensure that vendors are fair in their billing.”

The audit, conducted at no cost to Erie County, covered the time period from March 1, 2015 – December 31, 2016. Refund checks from Verizon totaling $900,189.82, from which the Troy & Banks portion will be deducted, will be received and deposited in county accounts by mid-October.

©2017 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.