The Logan County Jail will soon be seeing a hefty increase in their monthly water bills from the City of Guthrie. However, due to an error, the jail has been receiving a heavy discounted price for approximately five years.
Sheriff Damon Devereaux informed the Board of County Commissioners on June 27 he received a notice from the City about receiving a discounted price on their monthly water bill.
Devereaux, who took office in 2017, said the jail’s water bill in April/May 2014 was $6,316 from the City. In the following month, the bill decreased to $1,578. The sheriff says from that point forward the bill averaged $900 to $1,800 monthly.
Fast forward to this June’s water bill and the total amount registered at $9,708, which also includes trash and sewer services but primarily for water service.
According to City officials, a clerical error was put into the system in 2014. The error was found just recently when looking at a similar water line within the city limits.
The size of the jail’s water line and meter should have been with a times 10 multiplier in the City’s software system, according to city officials. However, in the program it was marked with a one multiplier causing the shortage.
City leaders informed Devereaux on Wednesday they will not back bill the jail to collect the loss revenue. Devereaux says the last fiscal year (12 months) alone would have cost the jail an additional $116,000.
With the updated billing rate of several thousand dollars on the jail’s monthly bill, Devereaux says they are examining their water usage, including car washes at the jail on sheriff vehicles by inmates.
Devereaux says the timing of the situation comes at a crucial time as he is in the process of preparing for next fiscal year’s budget.