City of Lackawanna – Garbage Collection Fees (2021M-206)

Issued Date
April 08, 2022

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether City of Lackawanna (City) officials properly assessed and billed solid waste (garbage) collection fees (garbage fees).

Key Findings

City officials did not always assess and bill garbage fees in accordance with the City Code (Code). Officials also did not provide adequate oversight or develop written policies and procedures for assessing and billing garbage fees.

  • 30 of 33 properties reviewed (91 percent) were not assessed and/or billed the correct garbage fees in accordance with the Code. Twenty-five of these properties were underbilled a total of $6,350.
  • 16 organizations were billed for garbage services they received. However, the Code indicates the organizations were not eligible for such services.
  • 14 of the 27 garbage fee exemptions reviewed (52 percent) lacked appropriate support and/or did not comply with City requirements.

In addition, although the DPW Commissioner prepared memos indicating 10 City properties required garbage fee assessment and/or billing updates during our audit period, the Assessor had not updated the assessment records for seven properties and the Treasurer did not issue bills for four of those seven properties totaling $889. While the financial impact appears immaterial, not making the necessary updates for these properties will result in continued inaccurate billing in the future.

Key Recommendations

Develop comprehensive written policies and procedures for assessing and billing garbage fees.

  • Ensure garbage service and corresponding garbage fees comply with the Code.

City officials agreed with our findings and recommendations and indicated they plan to initiate corrective action. Appendix B includes our comment to an issue raised in the City’s response.