MERIDEN — The city is expected to fully recoup $3.4 million in tax revenue that went uncollected from Eversource Energy in recent years due to a clerical error.
A representative from Eversource dropped off checks to City Hall late Friday afternoon totaling $2.5 million, City Manager Tim Coon said. The company will add the remaining $900,000 on its next tax bill due next month.
“This is something that we would rather not have happened, but it’s good to have it resolved,” Coon said Monday.
Finance Director Michael Lupkas said Monday that Eversource’s personal property assets were underassessed on the 2016 and 2017 Grand Lists because the utility company reported an incorrect depreciation of assets schedule, which employees in the tax assessor’s office failed to catch.
Eversource, the city’s largest taxpayer, was only assessed on $124.9 million in property, instead of $210.3 million over the two years, according to Finance Department records. The error was discovered just before Thanksgiving when Tax Assessor Deborah Zunda conducted a routine audit. The employees responsible for the error retired last year.
In a statement Monday, Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said the company is “pleased we were able to work with city officials to clarify the amount of property taxes that we are legally obligated to pay.”
“We have met that commitment and resolved the issue,” Gross added.
After discovering the errors, the city hired accounting firm Blum, Shapiro & Company to conduct an audit to determine whether other errors were made on personal property tax assessments for the 2016 and 2017 Grand Lists. Coon said Monday that the report, which was received late Friday, found no major errors in assessments or uncollected revenues.
Lupkas said the recouped $3.4 million will be moved to tax collection lines in the current fiscal year’s budget. The unexpected revenue could result in the city finishing this fiscal year with a surplus.
“The goal right now would be to keep that as a surplus unless there is council approval to spend it,” Lupkas said.
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