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Audit finds Brighton's water system lacks oversight

Posted at 3:33 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 17:38:50-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. — A lack of oversight was one of the findings of an audit on the department in charge of the City of Brighton’s water system.

A draft copy of the forensic audit report provided by the contracted firm, Two Hills Accounting & Consulting, was released to the public Wednesday after the Brighton City Council voted unanimously to release the report.

“We found that Water, Wastewater and Storm Drainage budgets had not always been developed and presented to City Council in accordance with the Municipal Code,” the draft report states.

A water billing issue has plagued the city for several years. Last year, former Brighton City Manager Philip Rodriguez revealed that the city’s water department had accumulated $70 million in water overcharges.

Brighton City Council fired Rodriguez last July over what they claim was an unspecified personnel issue.

The audit found that the overages stem from a practice of “re-budgeting,” which means staff would carryover remaining budgeted funds from the previous year to the next year. The auditing group found that the city’s water budget exceeded actual spending needs by a large margin.

The firm is scheduled to present the results of the audit at the March 17 City Council meeting.