City of Dunkirk – Billing Enforcement (2020M-117)

Issued Date
June 11, 2021

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether City of Dunkirk (City) officials properly enforced and monitored delinquent water, sewer and tipping fee balances.

Key Findings

The City Treasurer (Treasurer) did not properly enforce and the Common Council (Council) did not properly monitor delinquent water, sewer and tipping fee balances.

The Treasurer did not:

  • Follow the enforcement procedures prescribed by the City Code (Code).
  • Relevy 1,266 accounts totaling $432,064 in January 2019.
  • Charge penalties in accordance with the Code. Of the 30 accounts reviewed, approximately $39,700 in additional penalties should have been charged.

If City officials had implemented shut-off procedures in accordance with the Code, the City could have collected more than $577,000 on delinquent accounts and realized an additional $31,200 in service resumption fees.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all delinquent accounts as of January 31 are included on the relevy.
  • Assess penalties according to the Code.

The Treasurer generally disagreed with the findings but indicated he would take corrective action. The Council agreed with our findings and indicated it would take corrective action. Appendix B includes our comments to issues raised in the Treasurer’s response.