AT&T is not happy with officials in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Every month, AT&T pays the city’s Metropolitan Emergency Communication Association (MECA) 5% of every working phone line within the cities borders.
But according to AT&T, they have been over-paying the city for more than four years totaling $278,000.
At a meeting of the 911 Administrative Board on Monday, MECA Director Karen Blevins said AT&T recently contacted the agency, saying that instead of charging some of its largest customers that 5 percent surcharge, they had reached a contract agreement with those companies and had been overcharging them. – PBCommercial
So, AT&T is mad that the city agreed to a different amount with other companies? As the article notes, the city and AT&T have an agreement for 5% per working phone line. It seems quite cut and dry.
Although AT&T has a “most favored nation” clause included with many city franchise agreements (meaning, AT&T has the right to lower their payments to a city for a franchise agreement if another telecom comes into the city and agrees to a better deal) the clause is not one that simply gives AT&T the best deal on every single city agreement.
Other city members were not that happy.
Charles “Cooter” Failla, a member of the board and who was among the original planners for MECA, said the agency “needs to fight it (AT&T’s claim).” Failla said the 5 percent surcharge was to be applied to every existing phone line, and AT&T’s claims were not valid.
“We’re not going to go down without a fight,” County Judge Dutch King said, adding that the matter has been turned over to Jefferson County Attorney Jackie Harris.
Oh, and AT&T wants the money back within 18 months. Something that the board itself told AT&T was just not attainable. Who cares though, right? With revenue of over $130 billion in 2014, it makes sense that AT&T would force a city to pay them $278,000 in a short time rather than an extra few months.