Government • City officials blame higher January costs on malfunctioning meter reader, cold weather.
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State auditors will investigate claims that Eagle Mountain made errors when issuing utility bills to its residents in January.
But an audit won't happen immediately. Utah State Auditor spokeswoman Nicole Davis said the investigation is at the bottom of a priority list for pending audits.
Frustrated Eagle Mountain residents recently complained their January utility bills were higher than bills for that time of year by at least double. One resident living in the Kiowa Valley neighborhood paid his bill in full for December. The next month his bill was more than $400.
The city hoped to quell resident concerns about the high bills with an explanatory mailer detailing how a malfunctioning meter reader and some of the coldest temperatures in Utah since 1949 were to blame. It held a town hall meeting, but even that didn't calm some residents.
Eagle Mountain resident Sam Allen sent a 60-page report to the Utah State Auditor's office with myriad concerns.
Ryan Roberts, the state Auditor's Office local government supervisor, said there was enough in the resident's letter to spur an audit.
"We went through that document and picked out three areas where we felt we could investigate," Roberts said.
Auditors will investigate the transfer of funds from the utility fund to the general fund, the city's entertainment and travel expenses and the alleged disappearance of $7 million in sewer bonds.
In a letter to Allen, state Auditor John Dougall said he praised Allen's efforts to "hold [his] city's leadership accountable."
Eagle Mountain spokeswoman Linda Peterson said the city received a notice on Feb. 13 that a complaint had been filed with the auditor. She said the mayor wrote a letter supporting an audit after learning about the complaint.
"We would like to put this to rest and move forward," Peterson said, noting the claims represent only a small percentage of residents.