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Interlocal audit to tackle city fuel consumption first

By Staff | Jan 15, 2011

Charlie Green said his office will start examining the city’s fuel consumption in two to three weeks, the first move of an internal audit of city functions that’s expected to take upwards of 400 hours to complete.
The Lee County Clerk of Courts expects the audit to be “fairly complicated”, citing a current audit being conducted by his office of Lee County functions for comparison.
The county and the city entered into an interlocal agreement for the audit, in which two county auditors are being provided to the city auditor’s office at $57 per hour.
Green said he wouldn’t allow the audit to become public unless its findings can be backed up with hard data.
“We’re going to turn out something you can stand on,” Green said. “We don’t let it go out the door unless we can back it up with detail.”
County auditors will likely go deeper into consultant Bill Towler’s examination of the city fuel consumption, in which he claims that city had doubled its fuel consumption over five years despite the reduction in fleet size, costing Cape Coral millions of dollars in the process.
City Spokeswoman Connie Barron indicated that Towler did not examine the the city’s fuel consumption from month-to-month over that five-year period, instead making his conclusions based on annual numbers.
Barron said Towler took a “global” view of the city’s fuel consumption during his study.
“Bill Towler did not get a report for every month for every location because Fleet did not routinely generate monthly reports. He received reports for each fiscal year for each location as well as other documents/invoices,” Barron wrote via email on Jan. 12 in response to a Breeze query.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said despite the recent departure of Public Works Director Chuck Pavlos, he still would like to have some response to the information in both the Bill Towler and Jim Martin reports.
McGrail still thinks the reports were more political than analytical.
“We got accusations, and the guy that’s out of a job didn’t get the chance to respond or say what happened,” McGrail said this week.
Unleaded and diesel gas consumption at the city hall fueling station hasn’t fluctuated much during the final three months of 2010.
According to city numbers, 35,337.8 gallons of fuel were consumed in October 2010 at the price of $93,139.61; in November 2010, 33,734.3 gallons were consumed at a price of $90,855.41; and in December 34,610.9 gallons were consumed at a cost of $98,835.99.
At the fleet management fueling station, gas consumption trended downward during the final three months of the year, but only slightly. Along with unleaded and diesel fuel, mobile fuel is also accounted for at this station.
In October, 22,510.4 gallons were consumed at a price of $59,373.99; in November, 20,299.6 gallons were consumed, at a price of $54,573.9; and December saw 20,217.6 gallons consumed, costing the city 57,332.54.
The city’s fuel intake also trended down slightly over the last three months of 2010.
In October the city took in 63,679.2 gallons of unleaded and diesel fuel combined, costing $167,895.11.
In November the city took in 58,598.2 gallons of unleaded and diesel fuel, costing $158,414.32.
December saw the city take in 58,368.1 gallons of fuel, costing $167,411.16, according to numbers provided by the city.
Towler’s report states there was no system of checks and balances in place to know exactly how much fuel was being taken in by the city, as no invoices, or bills of lading were being provided.
The city auditors office, meanwhile, has begun the auditing process inhouse.