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ERNST AND YOUNG OK'D AS AUDITORS SANTA CLARITA'S TRASH HAULERS FACE SCRUTINY.

Byline: Kathleen Sweeney Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - City officials will pay Ernst and Young LLP $100,000 to audit Santa Clarita trash haulers and determine whether residents have been overcharged for the city's franchised trash service.

The City Council awarded the contract during a special meeting Tuesday, also setting aside $25,000 for the City Attorney's Office to offer support to the auditors.

``This issue has been very contentious and has been ongoing for several months now, and it's in the community's best interest that we reach a resolution,'' Councilman Cameron Smyth said Wednesday.

Ernst and Young offered the city a ``pay-as-you-go'' contract, working in phases and only charging the city for work it completes.

The first phase of the contract, which includes a review of documentation, is expected to begin next week and wrap up by mid-January. If the council decides then that it has enough information, the contract can be terminated.

The audit will verify that city haulers - Blue Barrel Disposal Co. and Atlas/Consolidate Disposal Service - have met their obligations under their franchise agreement with the city. The audit will also ensure that residents are paying appropriate recycling fees and determine whether city staffers negotiated the best possible contract.

A city-funded study found that reporting errors at Chiquita Canyon Landfill mistakenly attributed 85,5000 tons of trash from the unincorporated areas surrounding Santa Clarita.

However, there is no evidence that residents have been overcharged or that city officials didn't take the best bid.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 4, 2001
Words:246
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