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State Audit of City Utilities Shows Some Problems

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/stateaudit_763.mp3

A state audit of City Utilities shows that the company is charging utility rates at a level that subsidizes non-utility services. State Auditor Susan Montee says that although the financial situation of City Utilities is much more stable than the City of Springfield's, it still needs to make some changes. But Montee is afraid her recommendations are falling on deaf ears. KSMU's Greg Leuthen reports.

Nearly two weeks after the presentation of her audit on the City of Springfield that exposed serious problems, State Auditor Susan Montee showed that City Utilities has some flaws of its own. Montee says that one of the problems is the high utility rates charged to customers. She says that City Utilities profits so much from electricity rates that it actually transfer money to the City of Springfield to fund some of its projects.

Montee says that City Utilities also spent too much money on employee bonuses and business lunches. City Utilities spent over 130 thousand dollars on these two areas in the time covered by the audit. Montee suggests that City Utilities change its spending on these and other areas, but says she is concerned that none of her suggestions will be taken seriously.

In a written statement, City Utilities officials pointed out the audit found no fraud. The statement also drew attention to the fact that City Utilities has its own internal auditor who has been looking into some of these other issues.

Montee also suggests that City Utilities try to clear away tree limbs from power lines so that damage would be minimized should there be another ice storm. City Utilities has made plans to clear dangerous limbs away from every power line in the area once every six years.