Chicago Department of Transportation Commercial Driveway Billing Follow-Up Inquiry

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its July 2019 audit of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) billing process for commercial driveway permit annual fees. Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that CDOT has partially implemented corrective actions related to the audit findings.

The purpose of the 2019 audit was to determine whether CDOT accurately and completely billed commercial property owners for driveways that use the public way. Our audit found that the Department either did not bill, or inaccurately billed, an estimated 6,713 permitholders, resulting in an annual revenue loss between $1.1 million and $1.5 million. In addition, CDOT had no confidence that all relevant driveways were recorded in its driveway permit system. Finally, OIG found that the City did not actively pursue payment for driveway permit fees that were past due.

Based on the results of the audit, OIG recommended several steps that CDOT should take to correct data problems hampering its billing operations and to prevent such problems in the future. Furthermore, we recommended that CDOT collaborate with other departments to include driveway permit fees in the City’s standardized debt collection process. In its response to the audit, CDOT described corrective actions it would take.

In February 2020, OIG inquired about the status of corrective actions taken by CDOT. Based on CDOT’s follow-up response, OIG concludes that CDOT partially implemented corrective actions. Specifically, CDOT created procedures to correct inaccurate driveway records and prevent future inaccuracies, developed and initiated a process to migrate data to the new Infor Public Sector (IPS) IT system, and documented standardized driveway permitting and billing procedures to share with relevant employees.

Once fully implemented, OIG believes the corrective actions reported by CDOT may reasonably be expected to resolve the core findings noted in the audit. We urge the Department to fully implement the recommendations by identifying inaccurate driveway permit records or undocumented driveways, crediting and reimbursing overbilled accounts, developing monitoring tools for permits at risk for inaccurate billing or non-billing, and migrating to IPS as planned in June 2020.