utility bill

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RITZVILLE - Ritzville residents indicate that they're having a hard time keeping their tempers in check because of a billing system the city is using to invoice utilities.

The Ritzville-Adams County Journal published an article detailing an exchange between angry customers and the city's council on March 7.

The publication reported that Ritzville resident Liz Brodie informed the council that she had conducted "forensic accounting" on select city water invoices, including her own and what she found was "seriously disturbing." she said.

Brodie's career reportedly involved reviewing project management controls for cities of New Jersey, Seattle, Las Vegas, etc. According to the Journal, Brodie told the council that historical accounting for Ritzville's utilities are non-existent. She says the city can't provide enough detail about past billings and payments. Brodie also alleges unexplained fluctuations in monthly invoices. 

Brodie and another resident allege that they have been assessed late fees without explanation.

One resident told the council that they were charged from November to April despite still receiving services during that time period.

The city responded by admitting to residents that it is in the process of implementing a new, improved system that has replaced its legacy billing system that employees are still learning and that past employee mistakes translated into the fiduciary misfires. 

The city says its also working on improved training to help employees identify times when its appropriate to escalate billing issues to a supervisor.