Jax among municipalities that will see less cash because of refund

By Jim McCabe on July 17 at 7:17am

A legal settlement requiring AT&T to issue a billion-dollar refund to mobile customers across the country is affecting Illinois municipalities, including Jacksonville.

A recent federal ruling on a class action suit stated the communications giant overcharged customers for five years on federal telecommunications taxes, which is given to state governments, which is then provided to local governments. The refund affects money that has already gone to local cities and villages.

Jacksonville city clerk Skip Bradshaw explains.

“We will begin not receiving $2,907.81 in telecommunications tax in August of 2014, and that will continue on for eleven payments. Then on the twelfth payment, we’ll receive $2,907.75 less,” says Bradshaw.

“So, for a total of one year, the city of Jacksonville will see a reduction in what we would normally receive from the Department of Revenue of $34,893.66.”

Bradshaw doesn’t see the refund having much of an impact on the city’s finances in the current fiscal year.

“We’ve yet to budget for 2015, so obviously, we will take that $20,000 in consideration when we’re determining the revenue projections for telecommunications tax in 2015,” he says.

“But, bottom line is, all of our figures in our budget are guessing figures. They’re just guidelines for us to go by, and we hope that we are low on a lot of our figures and this is just going t be one that we are definitely going to be low on and we hope a couple fo the others come in a little bit higher,” Bradshaw continues.

Bradshaw says the city will receive full payments starting in August 2015.

According to the website attmsettlement.com, those who might be eligible to receive benefits include those with data plans with AT&T Mobility from November 2005 to September 2010. Examples include smartphones, laptop connect cards and pay-per-use data plans.