For the second time in less than a year, the Town of Gaines underwent an unflattering audit. The previous forensic audit found the books off by roughly $100,000, and a water audit Tuesday showed that 60 million gallons had disappeared over the past 40 years.
Town Supervisor Carol Culhane said the missing water would fill a tank the length of a football field standing more than 140 feet high.
“We’re a small town, and that’s a lot of water,” she stated, noting that the missing water is from only the 4ø-year period able to be re-created.
The water audit was done because Culhane saw that the town’s water districts were operating in the red.
“Last year, working on the 2014 budget, it struck me as odd that they were in the red or were faltering, and I remembered that before I was elected and was only sitting in the audience, the districts were losing money,” Culhane said. “So we started to look into it.”
Culhane said nine of the 10 town water districts are “relatively new” with “a few minor issues, but no main breaks.” However, in piecing together the water districts’ books, Culhane said the town’s water billing clerk “found that there is substantial water loss.” That loss came from “non-billed, consumed gallons, with no consumer paying for them.”