State auditors believe a crime may have been committed. Schroon Supervisor Mike Marnell disagrees. District Attorney Kristy Sprague will have the final say. At issue are Schroon trash transfer station revenues.
State auditors believe a crime may have been committed. Schroon Supervisor Mike Marnell disagrees. District Attorney Kristy Sprague will have the final say.
At issue are Schroon trash transfer station revenues.
A state audit earlier this year discovered transfer station revenues had fallen more than $30,000 — 32 percent — from 2009-2011.
Auditors expressed concern and referred the matter to local law enforcement.
Marnell blamed the decrease in revenue on “poor management.” No crimes have been committed, he believes.
“There were a lot of problems at the transfer station,” Marnell acknowledged. “We’ve since made a number of changes and everything seems to be going well.”
To prove his point, Marnell pointed to the audit itself. The audit covers 2009 to 2012. Once Marnell took office in January 2012 and the town made changes at the transfer station revenues increased $20,000.
Marnell said the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation was in Schroon during May to look into the issue. The police will turn their findings over to Sprague, who will then decide how to proceed.
“I have not heard what their (police) final determination is yet,” Sprague said May 29. “As soon as I do, I will take the appropriate action if needed.”
The state review of the transfer station’s books was initially intended to quantify the town’s handling of transfer station finances from January 2011 to July 2012. But after finding that the town reported accepting 50 tons of garbage less at the local station than it paid Franklin County Transfer Station to accept from April to June 2012, auditors probed as far back as 2009.
All of the trash accepted at the Schroon Lake station is sent to Franklin County. The difference in reported tonnage of incoming compared to outgoing trash equates to more than $10,000 in “missing” revenue over that period alone, state auditors reported.
Marnell said before he took office people used “bulk” payment cards to dispose of trash. Those cards were intended to be used for appliances and other large items, but Marnell said people used them for regular trash. The “bulk” cards have since been discontinued.
There were also areas of the transfer station that were available to the public after hours. Marnell believes some people dumped without paying. Those areas have since been fenced, he said.
Also, transfer station attendants may have under-charged people in some cases, the supervisor said. A new scale with a computer print out has since been installed at the facility, Marnell noted. The town has also placed two people at the station to help monitor trash disposal.
“I think it was just a case of poor management,” Marnell said of the revenue drop. “I don’t expect any (criminal) charges. We’ve made changes there and I think we have a handle on things now.”