Company Says They Can Possibly Save The County Thousands in Unused or Unnecessary Phone/Internet Services
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The fiscal court heard today from Bruce Brooks, a representative of the Telecom Audit Group, about the possibilities of hiring the group to audit all of the county's telephone, internet, and 911 service bills to ensure that the county is getting exactly for what they are paying.
Brooks explained that his company, which he said was veteran owned, charges nothing up front. He said they put all the communication bills under a microscope and determine whether or not communication utilities are treating their government customers fairly. He said oft times there are hidden or misunderstood charges on bills or even services that are not being used that end up costing local governments, and eventually taxpayers, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He said that the group has serviced 40 organizations in Kentucky so far, 30 of which have been county governments including Hart, Barren, Muhlenburg, and Taylor Counties.
"We'll do all the work up front when we do our audit," he said. "What our audit consists of is, we're going to gather your invoices, make copies of your invoices, go through your bills and contact your providers. Surprisingly, about 75% of our clients think they know what they have on their bills, and unfortunately, a lot of stuff is not on your bills anymore. We get that from your carriers in great detail."
Brooks, who said he was a retired phone company engineer, said the group knows where and what for which to look, and that usually turns into significant savings. He said their average is saving each government around 35% off their communication bills.
The company's payment comes after whatever savings is found and the money is reimbursed or added back into the county's budget, his company receives half.
Judge Cannon said that there is at least one county office that has a phone system that either doesn't work properly or isn't being used, one for which the county is paying. Windstream is the main provider for county phone and internet lines and has been the source of several county communication problems.
"We know what kind of troubles we've had from Windstream in the past," Cannon said.
Brooks said that if they find nothing in their audit, the county is out nothing and would not be charged. Payment only comes if a savings is found during their audit, and Brooks even went as far as to call it "an investigation."
He left a copy of a contract for the county to examine and discuss. Judge Cannon said after a thorough check, fiscal court would discuss at a later time for a final decision.