January 28, 2009 – Butkovitz Says City Is Owed $6.7 Million for Police Services

Audit Date: January 28, 2009
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary


For Immediate Release:
Jan. 28, 2009

Contact: Harvey M. Rice
(215) 686-6696

Butkovitz Says City Is Owed $6.7 Million for Police Services

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PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released a review of Police Receivables & Delinquent Accounts that revealed the City is owed $6.7 million for security services provided by the Philadelphia Police Department over the last eight years to non-city government agencies and private entities. More than $3.5 million is 60 days past due.

Nearly $2 million is owed by non-city governmental agencies including federal and state entities. Private business entities account for more than $1.5 million in outstanding receivables for services rendered by Philadelphia police. A few examples are auto salvage yards, film production companies and night clubs.

Topping the list of delinquent accounts is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which owes more than $1 million for services and various police reimbursements.

“It is highly questionable that the Commonwealth would request and receive police services from the City of Philadelphia, but not reimburse the city in a timely manner,” said Butkovitz.

Commenting on private businesses that are delinquent in paying their bills, Butkovitz said, “There is no reason why Comcast Spectator cannot reimburse the City for police parking lot duty that was provided for an event that occurred almost two years ago.”

“This is a recurring problem where the parties at both ends of the field are to blame. The City is just as much to blame for not aggressively trying to collect the money owed and these delinquent account entities are guilty for trying to get over on the taxpayers of Philadelphia.

“Equally troubling is that the Police Department continues to provide requested services to some of these entities which have had long-standing delinquent accounts with the City. This is a practice that needs to stop.”

In his review, Butkovitz recommended that the Police Department “monitor its current practice system of providing police services to businesses or government agencies that have recurring delinquent balances.”

Additionally Butkovitz recommended that the “Department should change its current policy to include a provision that will require all entities seeking police services to pay a portion of the cost up front before the Police Department commits to providing the services requested.”

The Controller also recommends that a provision be added requiring reimbursement within 30 days of the services being rendered or interest and/or penalties will be charged until the past due amount is paid.

“The City must adopt a more business-like approach to collections and financial decision making, especially in our current economic climate,” said Butkovitz. “If money is owed for an extended period of time, we must collect the outstanding balance before we continue to provide services to a long list of delinquents.”

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