In Asbury Park: Telephone Vendor Acknowledges Overbilling of $76,000


coaster-news-200-newBy ED SALVAS

The city of Asbury Park recently deposited a check for $76,879.64 from the company that formerly handled the municipal telephone service. That money was reimbursement to the city for overcharges submitted by Windstream Communications, the firm that formerly handled the municipal phone service.

Mayor John Moor announced the refund at the recent council meeting and credited the work of the city’s Acting Chief Municipal Finance Officer, Richard Gartz in turning up the billing discrepancy. He said officials had been suspicious of the statements from Windstream for some time, but it was Gartz whose persistence eventually paid off with the refund. Acting City Manager Tony Nuccio, agreed, and pointed out that Gartz is known for his close attention to the city’s finances.

“There was speculation we had been over billed by this company. He (Gartz) was relentless with this, absolutely relentless,” Nuccio said at the meeting.

Moor held up a large photo copy of the check from Windstream for $76,879.64 as proof of payment.

Gartz said he couldn’t take all the credit, saying that City Treasurer Tracy Lizardi worked with him during the year it took to get the refund.

“We sent emails but they ignored us for five months. Finally they agreed to give us a credit starting in March or April,” he said.

The overbilling took place over six years of service, Gartz said. The city has since changed phone carriers.

The mayor said the Windstream case is an example of the city’s policy of going after money it’s owed and put everyone on notice they had better pay up.

“We’re going after anybody and everybody that might owe the city money. Mercantile licensing, anything.”

He also noted that Gartz himself paid to have the check enlarged.

Posted in Asbury Park City Desk and tagged , .