On June 21, the La Quinta City Council unanimously approved to hire MuniServices, one of the nation’s leading providers of tax audit and revenue recovery services for local governments, to conduct a franchise fee audit for the City, potentially putting up to $1.25 million back in to the general fund.
“Even with robust accounting software, people and computers still make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Julia Erdkamp, Client Services Manager for MuniServices. “Accounting errors make it important for cities and counties to regularly audit their taxes and fees. We’re not saying people are trying to steal, but we are saying the loss in revenue hurts essential services like police and fire.”
Over the next six months, MuniServices will audit and collect unpaid franchise fees from La Quinta’s gas, electric, cable and telecomm utility providers. Franchise fees are charged to utility providers for property right-of-way agreements made with the City to provide for-profit services to La Quinta residents.
“MuniServices was chosen for their high-level of expertise and proven track record in this field,” said Frank Spevacek, City Manager for the City of La Quinta. “Additional consideration was given to the fact that they were the only in-state provider to submit a proposal, and were one of only two providers that would accept a cap on service fees.”
In January, the La Quinta Citizen Advisory Committee recommended review of all franchise agreements to ensure the City was receiving its full share of fees by utilities it contracted with. The MuniServices franchise fee audit will be the first conducted for the City by an independent firm.
With more than 900 cities, counties, and special districts as clients, MuniServices is the nation’s leading provider of proprietary revenue recovery, audit and administration services encompassing all general sources of municipal tax revenue. To learn more about franchise fee recovery and MuniServices, visit www.muniservices.com.