Located near Portland, Oregon, the city of Beaverton is home to more than 95,000 residents and is Oregon’s sixth-largest city, recently ranked in the top ten of Money magazine’s 50 Best Small Cities in America for 2016.

However, there was a recent, minor problem for library staff across the city. They couldn’t call each other because their phone lines were disconnected by mistake. The trouble was, city staffers didn’t know which carrier to call or which contract to look into. No one knew how to fix the problem — and quickly — except their telecom expense management (TEM) company.

“At Ruby+Solberg, we take care of any issue a municipality may have with their telecom services,” says Julia Cook, client account manager with Ruby+Solberg. “We are their advocate if they have any issues and a single place to turn to when they don’t know who to call.”

As with any business or industry, municipalities like the city of Beaverton can cut their telecom expenses with help from dedicated TEM services. Cities are likely paying 50 percent more than they need to be for telecom and datacom services, and that’s because almost 80 percent of all telecom bills are incorrect.

Complex tax codes and exemptions, dozens of contracts and vendors, and routine overcharges negatively affect a municipality’s bottom line and jeopardize already strained budgets.

Common telecom billing mistakes for municipalities include:

  • Continued billing for disconnected services/equipment
  • Incorrect services/third-party charges
  • Metering and database errors
  • Incorrect rates/contract renewals
  • Tax errors

“We analyze each and every bill to flag and fix any incorrect fees or double charges,” says Cook. “We can get credit back on late fees, outline the terms of telecom contracts and can help negotiate new contracts that are set to expire. We can also fix the weird situations that come up, like with the Beaverton libraries.”

Helping Cut Costs for Beaverton

Ruby+Solberg has managed Beaverton’s telecom expenses, including internet, long distance and network services, for more than five years. With Validated Telecom Billing® (VTB), the city’s bills are managed and paid for with a secure software platform that tracks its vendor contracts and records of disputes.

The city also receives customized weekly billing reports along with proper GL code so the reports can be uploaded directly into the municipality’s accounting software. To manage these services, Ruby+Solberg works directly with the city’s purchasing agent and IT staff to ensure each department’s needs and budgets are fulfilled.

“For the city of Beaverton we provide bi-weekly reports which allow the government to allocate funds to various departments and forecast budgets on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis,” says Cook. “We’re here to be a resource for the entire city to ensure its telecom services function without interruption and unnecessary fees.”

With telecom expenses managed and accounted for, city staffers can focus more energy on creating healthy, safe and thriving communities.