Warner Robins Council says they're now taking serious steps to address the problems with stormwater fee billing in the city.
At Monday night's meeting, Council approved bringing in an outside firm to audit the stormwater program.
Councilman Daron Lee says it's a reassuring move.
“Well, by looking into the account now and the spending and the management of the account, that pretty much is sending out a message that 'Hey, we're trying to get everything in order in order to be good stewards of the tax-payer's monies,” Lee said after the meeting.
WMAZ reported on the issue last week and in September of 2017.
For years, some city officials have known the program was losing thousands of dollars in unbilled fees to business properties, or the businesses were not charged the correct amount.
Councilman Tim Thomas called it a frustrating experience.
“I brought it to the city's attention and I had brought it up every four or five months since that point, and I was told every meeting that they were handling it and in two weeks they'd be done. And we found it had not been done. And I was pretty aggravated about it,” Thomas said.
Former City Clerk Bill Harte said in accounts he was able to fix before leaving, they found $55,000 in annual fees that had not been billed.
But Thomas claims the actual lost revenue is much higher.
“We think on the low end it's about $250,000 a year,” Thomas said.
No other city officials have used that number or even speculated a total.
The audit will assess billing issues, how stormwater funds are used, and what they can be used for.
Stormwater revenue goes to improving and maintaining drainage infrastructure, including cleaning chemicals from runoff water and making sure they comply with regulations.
Once a firm is selected, they'll give recommendations to the stormwater manager, chief financial officer, and city attorney on how to improve the program and its financing.
Council had a busy night on Monday.
The 15-acre area is between the VECTR Center and Memorial Park, that's right across from Robins Air Force Base.
The first phase of the development will be 90 apartment units, costing about $15 million.
The Pennrose company will own the buildings while the land will be leased from the city's development authority.
Construction is expected to begin later this year and some of those apartments will be set aside for veterans using the VECTR center.
Monday was also the first official meeting of council since 23-year-old Parker Moore was killed at the Warner Robins Barberitos.
Moore's death marked the city's third homicide in an eight day stretch.
During the public comment section of the meeting, citizens urged Council to make improvements to public safety.
There were also messages of support and criticism for Mayor Randy Toms' emotional plea calling for citizens to arm themselves.
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