Could County Pay for Audit of City Utilities?

The mayor said an audit of city utilities was a good idea. Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor had come to the meeting to specifically say thank you for the opportunity, and said he would ask the other county commissioners to vote on the issue, but now the mayor says that won't be necessary.

Last week, a rally in Tallahassee City Hall got the attention of the mayor. The rally was for customers of city utilities to voice their concerns over they say, rapidly growing bills.

It was there, Leon County Commissioner Proctor said the mayor offered to let the county pay for an audit of the city utilities.

Commissioner Proctor said, "Bottom line, the city utility bills are too high and should be lower. The Mayor offered to me, twice, an invitation to allow the county to pay for an audit."

This is the second offering proctor is speaking of, at the last city commission meeting.

Mayor John Marks, City of Tallahassee, said, “You're going to ask the County Commission to pay for this audit. I think that's a great idea.”

But now, the mayor says, there will be no audit. Commissioner Proctor isn't happy.

Proctor said, "This is just tragic that the Mayor has back pedaled."

Mayor Marks said he is doing this for good reason and that it was an offer for a review instead it would be more a review of city utilities.

Marks, said, "let's dwell on the real issue and that's high utility bills. We need to figure this our for all the customers out there."

Commissioner Proctor sent the mayor a letter with his outline of what the potential audit would cover, including organizing an independent group to be a watchdog of sorts over the city utilities.

The mayor says what Proctor wants to do is a waste of resources and doesn't really address the issue at hand, which is high utility bills.

County officials say they could still make a public records request and do an audit of sorts that way, but the city says that would be fine. It doesn't believe anything sinister is happening. The rise in utility bills is related to increases in natural gas prices.