City attempts to collect $384,000 in legal obligation

Allison B. Hudson

In 2004 the city of Donaldsonville purchased a software to use for billing for the utility service fees.

The city contracted with Tyler Technologies for this system at a cost of $99,910.

In 2006 the software was successfully installed and the city went online with a new billing system for sewer, gas, garbage, and law enforcement. The program was designed to take the input data from People's Water Service concerning the consumption use by our sewer customers and converted into our sewer user charges which would then be billed to customers.

However, in 2007 after a fiscal year audit by Waguespack and Gallagher, it was discovered that the sewer revenues were less than the budget projections. In October 2007 it was discovered that because the software was improperly set that caused a decimal point to be misplaced, as a result 2,193 sewer users in the amount of $384,000 was not collected.

As a result 2,193 of the 3,738 sewer customers were under charged and the city has a legal obligation to collect the amount not paid for.

The city council has decided after much deliberation has authorized to collect the under billed sewer accounts at the rate of 1/15 of each sewer customer's under billed amount for 15 consecutive months.

Donaldsonville Council Chairperson Raymond Aucoin said, "we hate it had to result this way but we have an obligation."