DeKalb needs manager in charge of water billing fixes, auditors say


DeKalb’s government should put someone in charge of making sure that a plan to fix the county’s inaccurate water billing system becomes a reality.

That was the message delivered Friday by financial services firm KPMG, which conducted an audit that recommended 22 ways to eliminate the county’s pervasive problem with high bills. The audit suggested replacing water meters, upgrading technology and changing management structures.

“Where the county is now is it’s at a crossroads,” said David Roberts, managing director for KPMG, in a presentation to the DeKalb Audit Oversight Committee. “Our report has a road map to transform its operations. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

The 127-page audit said the county should assign a mid-level manager or staffer to be responsible for implementing each recommendation. The audit also called for the county to establish a project management office to oversee implementation.

RELATED: Read more coverage of the DeKalb water billing audit.

“A formal governance framework is needed with clear lines of authority,” Roberts said. “This is important to the citizens to know that the county is taking action. The more formal, the more transparent, the better.”

The effort to revamp the county’s water billing system includes two major projects: changing about 102,000 old or potentially defective meters, and installing new billing software. Those jobs will take two or more years to finish and cost millions of dollars.

The audit, which cost $275,000, also recommended merging water metering and billing departments, ending reliance on paper-based processes for meter set-up, strengthening oversight of contractors and upgrading meter reading equipment.

“We have pretty good knowledge now about what’s causing the problem,” said Gena Major, a member of the Audit Oversight Committee. “People want their bills addressed now.”

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond’s administration must provide a response to the audit in the coming weeks, according to the law that created the Audit Oversight Committee.

Thurmond said last month he's reviewing the audit, which confirmed the need for new meters, better customer service and upgraded technology.

Read DeKalb's water billing audit presentation


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

In TV interview, Roswell parents say LSU freshman was murdered

The Roswell parents of a college freshman who died after an alleged hazing incident at Louisiana State University believe their son was murdered, the two told “Good Morning America.” Max Gruver, 18, died Sept. 14 after a suspected hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, according to investigators. At the time of this death...
Cop: After raping woman, man waited ‘for her to die’ in Gwinnett home
Cop: After raping woman, man waited ‘for her to die’ in Gwinnett home

Thuan Dinh and a California woman had been dating for a few months, spending visits during their long-distance relationships visiting casinos in Las Vegas and North Carolina, a Gwinnett County Special Victims Unit detective said. When Dinh brought the woman to a nearly vacant home in Gwinnett County on Thanksgiving, she was confused as to why. They...
Photos: ‘12 Strays of Christmas’ adoption underway at Cobb pet shelter
Photos: ‘12 Strays of Christmas’ adoption underway at Cobb pet shelter

If you’re still looking for the perfect holiday gift, an adorable animal wouldn’t mind scratching that off your list. For a dozen days leading up to the 25th, the “12 Strays of Christmas” campaign aims to find homes for the animals who have been at Best Friends-Animal’s Cobb County shelter the longest. The program...
Roswell High grad makes documentary about record-setting NBA player
Roswell High grad makes documentary about record-setting NBA player

Jim Tucker did something that no basketball player has ever matched. Not Wilt Chamberlin, not Michael Jordan, not Tim Duncan, not Russell Westbrook. On Feb. 20, 1955, Tucker — playing for the Syracuse Nationals, a team that later became the Philadelphia 76ers — recorded the fastest triple-double in NBA history. In just 17 minutes,...
JUST IN: School bus involved in crash in Hall County; injury reported 
JUST IN: School bus involved in crash in Hall County; injury reported 

A school bus was involved in a crash with a minivan Thursday in western Hall County, a fire department spokesman said. One person was freed from the minivan and taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, spokesman Zachary Brackett said. Injury details were not known. The bus was carrying students from Gainesville Exploration...
More Stories