Determine whether Town of Owego (Town) officials provided adequate oversight of water fund operations.
Town officials did not provide adequate oversight of water fund operations. Specifically:
- 104 of 1,380 water bills tested were not calculated correctly resulting in approximately $70,000 of lost revenue for the Town.
- All 51 water bill adjustments reviewed, totaling $233,400, were not approved by the Board; of those, 28 adjustments totaling approximately $70,100 were also not appropriate.
- The consolidated water district had operating surpluses of over $465,000 in 2019 and $395,000 in 2020.
- 28 percent of the water produced, or 138.6 million gallons, is considered unauthorized non-revenue (lost) water, 12 percentage points above the national average.
- Ensure that water bills are calculated correctly using Board-approved rates.
- Review and approve all adjustments prior to implementation by the utility department in accordance with the local ordinance.
- Review water accountabilities performed, determine where significant deficiencies exist and correct any issues noted.
Town officials agreed with our recommendations and have initiated or indicated they planned to initiate corrective action.