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September 13, 2016

Philadelphia controller saves city $1.3M in unnecessary overcharges

The City Controller's Office confronted contractors who charged for projects they didn't do

City Controller Alan Butkovitz says that thanks to his office, the city has kept from unnecessarily spending about $1.3 million.

His office's Pre-Audit Technical Unit was able to save the tax money by uncovering city contractors who overcharged for billed work. The contractors were overcharging beyond the amounts set in their contracts with the city as well as charging for unused equipment and unworked hours.

Once the problems were discovered, the team approached the contractors to adjusted charges to their appropriate rates.

“We have a knowledgeable, efficient team that keeps a very close watch on the city’s construction projects,” Butkovitz said in a statement. “They know the areas where contractors overcharge and they stop unnecessary tax dollars from being spent.”

The office said that one contractor tried to charge an additional $87,000 for work he never did to City Hall, including a "grooved concrete for the apron area around the building." More than half of the savings also came from overcharges at the Philadelphia International Airport.

As a preventative measure, Butkovitz's office has created an education outreach initiative to help individual departments identify when contractors are overcharging.