The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 26, 2013

Driving away debt

(Continued)

In that example, it turns out the bill was being sent to the wrong agency. It was assistance for one woman for whom a county agreed to pay for a certain number of rides. Besides billing the wrong agency month after month, the amount of rides given exceeded the amount the county had agreed to pay for.

So, explained Silverio, he sent a bill with two years' worth of bus fares to a county supervisor. The bill for bus fare, for that one person, was about $8,000.

"Understandably, the [county] chairman was not happy," said Silverio.

He said he couldn't really blame him for being upset. Counties don't necessarily budget this year for expenses that were unknowingly incurred two years ago. The county and the agency will work something out, though it's probably not going to be for the full amount.

The goal now, said Silverio, is that "this will never happen again."

Yet in a way, whatever amount they get from the county is "found money" since it was buried in old records that weren't being reviewed. What else is in that pile? Silverio knows there's more. He's assigned staff specifically to dig through paperwork to check for helpful oversights.

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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