Wednesday, November 14, 2012

City pays Sun Valley Co. water, power

Resort says snafu is ‘honest mistake’

Express Staff Writer

The city of Sun Valley has unwittingly subsidized Sun Valley Co.’s electricity and water expenses for about a decade, costing its taxpayers nearly $34,000 that the resort pledges to pay back soon.

Virginia Egger, interim executive assistant to the mayor, said she discovered the billing snafu recently while looking over the city’s summer utilities invoices.

“I noticed that the city’s summer water bill seemed really high,” she said.

According to Egger, the water bill wasn’t any higher than it had been over the past few summers, it just seemed high overall and something about it “didn’t sit right” with her, based on her years of experience in public administration.

Egger said she brought the issue to the attention of City Treasurer Angela Walls, who, upon further investigation, realized that bills for two Sun Valley Water & Sewer District meters along Sun Valley Road were being charged to the city erroneously and that those charges had occurred since 2003. The nearly $29,000 worth of water bills should have been sent to Sun Valley Co. over the years as opposed to the city of Sun Valley.

Walls said that through her investigation of the water bills she also noticed another mistaken charge. An Idaho Power meter located near the suspect water meters had been ringing up a suspicious bill to the city since 2000. According to Walls, that expense, now totaling about $4,470, also should have been charged to Sun Valley Co. She said the electricity measured by that meter is used to power Christmas lights on a resort-owned fence that runs along Sun Valley Road. Walls said the city is currently sending the relevant invoices to the resort for review.

Sun Valley Co. General Manager Tim Silva said it was an “honest mistake” and that the resort will “straighten out” any mix-ups after reviewing the invoices.

“If it’s our water and power bill, we’ll certainly pay it,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

Brennan Rego:

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