A BILLING blunder by Torridge District Council could cost the taxpayer up to £20,000, now the bill from the company that had to correct the error has arrived.
In March, the district council miscalculated 30,000 council tax bills meaning they would have collected an extra £120,000 across the financial year with each household being overcharged between £2 and £5.
More than two months later the council sent out the amended bills, after having rectified the administrative error.
During the two months they had already collected an extra £24,000 during April and May which had to be returned to taxpayers.
At the time Jenny Wallace, head of paid service at the district council, said the amended bills took into account where taxpayers were in credit having overpaid for the first two months or the whole year if they had paid the bill in one go.
Now nearly six months after the mistake was made the cost of the blunder has been revealed.
A bill from Capita, which had to reset the billing system to correct the bills, totalled £29,500.
District council leader Councillor Philip Collins said he was angry the bill was so high.
He confirmed the council had negotiated the price down to £20,000, but he was hoping to have it reduced again to £10,000.
He said: “We are highly irate. We pay them tens of thousands to run the system each year.
“We are disappointed. After a long, working relationship of about 10 years with Capita, it has come to this.
“Despite spending the time they did, they still got the percentages wrong for the parishes although the overall figure was right.”
The district council confirmed it has paid Capita a total of over £860,000 since 2004.
Mrs Wallace added that an investigation had been completed into how the error was made.
She said: “Processes have been put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Lessons have certainly been learnt.
“The cost will be covered by an underspend but it will be money that would have been spent on communities.”
Capita did not want to comment on the matter as it said it was confidential.