Thursday, March 2, 2017

County considers telecom audit

Most of what county magistrates dealt with during last week’s regular monthly meeting had something to do with saving money rather than spending it.

Crittenden County Fiscal Court heard a presentation on Monday, Feb. 21 from Carl Overton with Telecom Audit Group. Overton’s company headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., specializes in auditing the telecommunications systems and services of public and not-for-profit groups. Overton said his company doesn’t get paid unless it saves the county money. Otherwise, the fee is half of whatever is saved for the subsequent 18 months after his company does it work, and/or the same for any money refunded by service providers for the past five years.

Overton cited a number of counties and cities in five states, some as close as Todd and Marshall counties, where his firm has saved thousands of dollars for taxpayers.

“If I can’t help you get money back or cut your cost, you will never get a bill from me,” he said.

Overton said some telephone service providers are less than ethical when it comes to billing. Some, he said, simply make errors in billing or when building systems. His company will find those errors, correct them at its expense and then pass the savings or refunds on to the county.

Telecom Audit Group will make copies of invoices and statements from the county’s service providers over a few hours in the office, then do the rest of its work from its headquarters. The entire process could take about three to five months and will include all data lines, cell phones, landlines and microwave systems.

Overton said his company has found where Marshall County overpaid AT&T about $90,000 and another town in Tennessee had overpaid more than $300,000 over a period of years.
Magistrates approved contracting his services ounce County Attorney reviews and approves the contract language.

For more from the Feb. 21 fiscal court meeting see the Feb. 23 issue of The Crittenden Press or subscribe online.