Written by MARK JAEGER
Thursday, 30 July 2015 14:14
Three lines shouldn’t cost $450 a month, billing consultant contends
Town of Saukville Clerk Naomi Bruecker thinks the town is being overcharged by AT&T for its phone service, and the monthly bills offer compelling evidence.
Bruecker told the Town Board last week she became troubled by the cost of phone service in January, when she noted AT&T charged the town $450 for service — the highest phone bill it has ever received.
Town Hall has two phone lines and a fax line, needed to transmit poll results on election nights. The town’s bills show they are being charged for five lines.
Bruecker said repeated calls to the company about the billing turned into a cycle of transfers and confusing double-speak.
“When I did get through to somebody, it felt like they were speaking a different language as they tried to explain the charges on the bill,” she said.
Confirmation e-mails summarizing conversations with company representatives were never forwarded despite assurances they would be.
When Bruecker contacted other towns of similar size, she was told they typically are billed about $100 a month for phone service.
Frustrated at the high cost, she contacted Ozaukee County and was advised to contact Telecom Fitness, a Mequon firm that specializes in negotiating telecommunication contracts.
Telecom Fitness is used by the Village of Saukville and the Port Washington-Saukville School District to reduce its telephone costs.
The company charges its clients half the amount of savings they are able to negotiate with the phone company. A company representative said it is possible it may even be able to secure a refund if overcharges can be documented.
Supr. Mike Denzien said working with a consultant could be the most productive route for the town.
“We could negotiate directly with AT&T and possibly get the bill reduced, but we would never get a refund,” Denzien said.
“I don’t really see a down side. The worst that could happen is we don’t end up saving a nickel, and it wouldn’t cost us anything.”
He then made a motion to contract with Telecom Fitness which was unanimously approved by the board.