in Houston, Texas
$1.1 million in lost revenues from poor management at Dallas landfill, auditor finds
Thursday, Sep 13, 2012, 04:28PM CST
By Curt Olson
trash

Something stinks at the McCommas Bluff Landfill in south Dallas, and it’s not the decaying trash that haulers dump there.

That extra horrible stench comes from management practices that cause the landfill to lose money every year, at least $1.1 million over the past 11 years, WFAA in Dallas reports. Worse, City Auditor Craig Kinton pointed these problems out in 2009. Landfill officials promise to fix them following Kinton’s latest 44-page audit.

The landfill’s operation turns trash into money by charging haulers fees, but the audit reveals landfill staff did a lousy job of verifying commercial haulers and many have not paid the full fee owed. Fully 96 percent of about 1,500 users should not have access to the computer system the landfill uses, and the management of is not adequate to detect errors and reduce fraud and waste, the auditors found.

Significant internal control deficiencies over cash receipts and accounts receivable activities were noted in the Department of Sanitation Services’ (Sanitation Services) landfill and transfer station operations. Several of the deficiencies identified during this audit were previously reported to Sanitation Services in 2009, but had not been adequately addressed.

The stench coming from the landfill has also surfaced as a significant public policy discussion as Mayor Mike Rawlings wants all Dallas trash — the landfill only takes residential garbage now — hauled to the landfill. Haulers have sued to prevent the city’s move to rake in another $15 million to $18 million because it would create a monopoly. The case is still playing out in court.

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Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of trash can by flickr user Michael Connell, used via a Creative Commons license.

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