County to seek audit of 911 fee payment by telcos

ChesterCountyLogoWEST CHESTER — The Chester County Board of Commissioners introduced a resolution at this week’s Commissioners’ Sunshine Meeting, that authorizes the law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP, and the telecommunications auditing firm, Phone Recovery Services LLC to undertake a legal review and forensic audit, to determine if telephone companies providing service in Chester County have failed to bill, collect and remit the proper 9-1-1 charges that help fund Chester County’s 9-1-1 operations.

The resolution, set to be approved at next week’s Commissioners’ Meeting, could lead to a formal legal Complaint against the telephone companies to recover such unbilled, uncollected and unremitted  9-1-1 fees. A preliminary assessment of the telephone operators’ conduct suggests that under-billing may amount to more than $6.5 million annually. The Commissioners are authorizing Dilworth Paxson and Phone Recovery Services to investigate six years’ of potential under-billing, which could total up to $40 million in lost funds.

This move by the Chester County Commissioners is one of a number of actions against telephone service providers being taken by Boards of Commissioners throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The majority of the under-billing affects medium to large business customers. According to research by Phone Recovery Services, single residential lines are being properly assessed.

Chester County spent a total of $14.1 million to support its 9-1-1 system in 2014, with $7.2 million coming from 9-1-1 fees assessed by the telephone service providers, and $6.9 million coming from the county’s property tax.

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