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Adirondack Regional Airport (Photo:  Harrietstown website)
Adirondack Regional Airport (Photo: Harrietstown website)

State blasts Harrietstown for lax airport management

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The state Comptroller issued a scathing report yesterday, arguing that "mismanagement" at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear has cost Harrietstown nearly a quarter million dollars. The report also found that local officials "could not account for" nearly four thousand gallons of fuel. Brian Mann has details.

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 Management of Lake Clear airport — and the cost of the facility — have been controversial issues for years.  In his report issued this week, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli blasted town officials for lax accounting and inadequate oversight of capital projects. 

"At a time when local governments should be paying even closer attention to their finances," DiNapoli said in a statement, "our audit identified numerous financial missteps that went undetected for many years."

One major problem was the fact that the town's airport management couldn't account for Jet fuel and aviation gasoline worth roughly 15,000 dollars. 

Harrietstown supervisor Larry Miller couldn't be reached yesterday for comment.  But in a letter to the Comptroller written in mid-December, Miller acknowledged that "discrepancies existed" in fuel tank inventories. 

He blamed the problem in part on technical problems at the airport, but also conceded that airport management "did not keep inventory records for unleaded gas and diesel fuels."  In September, the town fired its airport manager.

At a budget hearing in November, some taxpayers blasted the town, arguing that the cost of operating the airport was too high.

Supporters of the airport argue that the facility generates millions of dollars of economic activity in the Adirondacks every year.  

They also point to growth in the number of passengers carried by Cape Air, which offers daily commuter flights to Boston.

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