The tanks have traditionally been used to fuel maintenance vehicles at the golf course, but also vehicles that are used for garbage pick-up, park maintenance, and town logging operations in the 800-acre resource management area around the Cobble Hill trail system. The tanks are operated by hand-crank pumps, the meters for which do not accurately measure the gasoline during pumping.
Though golf course fuel logs examined by auditors showed which vehicles were filled and the dates, they did not note the amount of fuel that was pumped from the tank or the reason for its usage.
"Additionally, prior to 2009, the logs did not separate the fuel used for garbage services and logging from the fuel used by the golf course," the report said, "thereby making it appear that fuel was used at the golf course during times it was not open."
Similar issues were found with the logs for fuel tanks at the town highway garage. Auditors noted that the town had an informal agreement that allowed the Elizabethtown Fire District and Elizabethtown-Lewis Ambulance Squad to use fuel from those tanks.
"While the superintendent maintained vehicle usage logs for highway vehicles and equipment, he did not track the fuel used by the fire district or the ambulance squad," nor did the town bill the fire or ambulance squad for their usage of fuel, the report stated.
In both cases, auditors urged the town to keep more accurate records of fuel usage and inventory.
"The absence of a detailed fuel inventory and usage records makes it impossible to determine whether all fuel purchased was used for legitimate town purposes," the report reads. "The failure to maintain adequate usage logs... places the town at a significant risk for inappropriate use or theft of the town's fuel supplies."
In response to the report, Merrihew stated that the town has already taken steps to remedy the issues raised in the audit and plans to act on all the recommendations of the Comptroller's office.