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Audit: Smithtown lost track of fuel, permits

Smithtown Town Hall is shown on Dec. 8,

Smithtown Town Hall is shown on Dec. 8, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

Town of Smithtown officials should keep better track of both the municipal fuel supply and nonresident parking permits, auditors from the New York State Comptroller’s office said in a report released Friday.

Auditors found that the town highway and parks departments failed to keep records for about 22,000 gallons of fuel valued at $45,682 and dispensed from mobile fuel tanks between January 2015 and August 2016. 

That represents a fraction of the total fuel workers for those departments used over that time, but auditors warned that town officials have “no assurance that fuel dispensed from mobile tanks was used for legitimate town purposes.” Mobile tanks are used to fuel equipment and machinery that is not easily moved. 

Auditors also said that inadequate parks records made it impossible to determine if all nonresident parking permits were accounted for or appropriate fees were collected. The Parks Department recorded nonresident parking permit sales totaling $49,832 during the 18-month audit period.
In an emailed statement, Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio wrote that the issues auditors identified were “minor” in context of the town’s $110 million budget. 

“We immediately corrected these weaknesses,” he wrote. “We continually seek to improve our processes and systems using our internal auditor and our annual independent audit which accounts for the limited findings.”

In an interview, Councilman Ed Wehrheim said that Vecchio downplayed the seriousness of the audit findings. “I would not call them a minor issue,” he said. “It’s something the town board should look into.”

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