Utility bills are generally not examined during an audit because they have little material value. Whether it's a private company, public entity, or a personal home budget; utility bills can be 'saved upon', but not dramatically altered. The City of Beaumont proves that utility bills can indeed be dramatically altered.
The 1st record request was in December, 2012 for copies of the Water and Electric bills for the past year. After a month of stalling the City stated the copies would be over $2,000.00. I then requested three (3) months – August, September, & October. The City of charged $450.00 for the water and electric bills.
The procedure for issuing checks is: The bills are collected and coded to the individual departments that created the expense. When a check is issued a copy of the check with the bills attached are filed.
The Check Warrants should show the check and the amount allocated to each department. The City of Beaumont does not show accounting codes on their check warrants.
When the Taxpayer requests a copy of a check the procedure is to open the filing cabinet, pull out the copy of the check with invoice/receipt verifications attached, and print a copy. This information is verified by the City Clerk before received by the Tax Payer.
Before I could start reviewing the utility bills I had to go through and pull out about 450 of pieces of worthless paper. Apparently every month the City waste time and money purchasing, copying, & filing hundreds of worthless sheets of papers. The City then pays a storage company to store thousands of worthless sheets of papers every year.
Processing worthless papers shows poor management by the Finance Director and City Manager. Attesting to the validity of these worthless pages is considered Forging a Government Document by the City Clerk.
Southern California Electric – Check # 81034 – 10/19/12 - $65,130.43
The check has $32,329.53 charged to the General Fund, $32,427.28 transferred to the Sewer Service Fund, $373.62 to Transit/Vehicle Maintenance.
The Sewer Service So Cal Edison bill is for three addresses.
6301 Plant D-7 $1,147.24
6402 Plant $18,783.45
715 West 4th $12,496.59
The General Fund So Cal Edison bill is divided eight (8) departments:
General government – 550 East 6th St $2,508.38
Community Rec Center – 1310 Oak Valley Pkwy $4,615.81
Police – 550 East 6th $1,455.16
Fire – 628 Maple $622.93
Street Maintenance – 394 W Oak Valley Pkwy $111.28
The spreadsheet attached to the bills list the Maintenance dept. charged $328.41, but the City's spreadsheet shows the Maintenance dept. has the following addresses with electric charges:
135 Lenora Ct $26.37
1245 Leaf St $26.37
101 gloria $26.50
12942 Potrero Blvd $1,378.45
455 W 4th St $497.08
$248.54 is coded to '3100', but there is no Department 3100 on the Budget.
$22,439.02 is coded to '3350', but there is no Department 3350 on the Budget.
The City of Beaumont codes $23,439.02 to the nonexistent department 3350, lists the location as 'Various', and has no receipts for these transactions.
Beaumont Cherry Valley Water – Check # 80557 – 08/31/12 - $191,371.02
This check has 130 bills attached. It's hard to fathom how a city could use $191,000 in water until you look at the bills. Only about half the expense is for water, the other half is meter fees and Passthru charges.
The Water District charges a 'meter fee' that ranges from $18.01 - $828.00. There are many bills that have nothing but meter charges.
Water bill account # 001 4002 001 and account # 001 4003 001 both lists service addresses as: 100' N of 2 Irr Mtr Xenia.
The 4002 account bill is $12,309.02 and lists $72.05 Service Charge, $3.33 Backflow Administration charge, $2,900.76 SPW Import Water charge, $2,080.98 SCE Import Electricity charge, and $7,251.90 for Water.
The 4003 account bill is an additional Meter charge of $72.05 and Backflow Administration charge of $3.33, but there is no water use. The City pays for two meters when only one is in use.
The following accounts and addresses all charge meter use, but have no water usage:
043 0590 000 – Rangel Park $51.70
045 0713 000 – Palmer Park/Palmer Ave $29.86
045 0781 001 – Area 1 Sewer Lift Station $40.75
045 0990 000 – Morgan & Monte Vista Park $62.52
045 1100 000 – At Park North of Pool $182.37
045 1624 001 – 1245 Leaf Street $62.52
045 0240 000 – Cameron & Pennsylvania $21.80
045 0370 000 – Beaumont Ave/ Brookside Ave $62.52
In this water bill the City of Beaumont paid the follow for two blocks of Seneca Springs Parkway:
Seneca Springs Park Area $3,007.30
Seneca Springs West of Park $1,038.20
30 Seneca Springs $3,855.38
71 Seneca Springs $285.78
70 Seneca Springs $4,353.96
70 Seneca Springs $ 131.77
90 Seneca Springs $5,323.96
94 Seneca Springs $1,403.22
117 Seneca Springs $1,135.20
The total Water Bill for this two block area is $20,534.77. $11,608.89 is Water charges, the rest is meter fees and Passthru charges.
The City of Beaumont has 24 bills with addresses for individual islands along Palm Ave: 'Palm-1st Island S of 6th', 'Palm-2nd Island S of 6th, etc... These bill total $10,193.44. The Meter Fees alone total $2,157.96.
The City paid $3,736.45 for 'Sundance CR-1st'; and $2,799.43 for 'Sundance CR-2nd'. This City also list $2,543.94 for '1202 Starlight Ave' – which is front of the Sundance Community. There appears to be several City utility bills inside Home Owners Association Communities.
Ring Ranch Road is another two block ares that has four (4) water bills totaling $7,946.28.
The City blacked out the Service Address on account # 098 1211 001, but the City's spreadsheet lists the bill address as: 'Truck 2406' and the meter charge is listed as 'Construction'.
There are dozens of meters installed all over the City of Beaumont for water and electric. When a business, agency, or private individual installs utilities they want the minimum number of meters to minimize costs.
The City of Beaumont is wasting thousands of dollars every month through poor utility management alone.