Hill Air Force Base improperly funded swimming pool and officers' club construction, has not been economical with some housing and computer use and has failed to bill other agencies for money owed, Air Force inspectors general say.
That's according to several Air Force Audit Agency reports obtained by the Deseret News through the Freedom of Information Act, which say Hill officials should be more vigilant. Problems included:- Using taxpayer money to fund a half million dollars of construction on swimming pools and base clubs, which should have been funded through revenues generated by such recreation facilities.
- Using expensive computer terminals - which are specially designed to help prevent spying on top-secret projects - for unclassified work. Much cheaper computers could be used for that, reports said.
- Spending up to $180,000 too much each year on billeting for workers at the Utah Test and Training Range in the Utah desert.
- Using expired funds for some engineering projects, and not reassigning money from slow-moving projects to other Air Force work in time to prevent it from expiring and being returned to general treasury funds.
- Failing, despite earlier orders from auditors, to bill Tooele Army Depot (which has some facilities based at Hill) and base recreation facilities for $76,980 to reimburse utility bills.About improper funding of construction, auditors said taxpayer money went for projects that should have been paid instead from such revenue-generating sources as officers' and non-commissioned officers' clubs and Air Force golf courses.
Reports said $485,000 of such taxpayer money went inappropriately for major reconstruction at base swimming pools, officers' clubs and horse stables, and to buy equipment and supplies to help maintain the golf course.
Auditors suggested Hill be forced to reimburse costs from proper accounts. But Hill officials have appealed, saying the projects were only for repairs - which could be properly funded through the taxpayer sources used.
Auditors also reported a reverse situation - where the base may have improperly used entertainment funds for construction that should have been paid with taxpayer money. But the base may have done that to sidestep normal approval channels.
Reports said Hill applied to use taxpayer funds to expand its Recreation Center. Because that facility does not generate funds, such taxpayer money would normally be used. But a grant for the project was denied.
Reports said Hill then reclassified the project as an expansion of the non-commissioned officers' club, which could use entertainment funds it controlled - and did.
"Upon completion in September 1989, the facility was immediately redesignated as the Recreation Center once again," auditors complained. Hill officials told auditors they really had meant to change the Recreation Center to an NCO annex, but changed their minds.
About improper use of expensive computer terminals, auditors said Hill was using $23,000 worth of Zenith 150 TEMPEST personal computers designed to help prevent spying on top-secret projects for non-classified work.
They had once been used for classified projects, but Hill did not offer them back to the Air Force for redistribution once that work ended.
About improper billeting at the Utah Test and Training Range at Oasis, Tooele County, 100 miles from the base, auditors said the base is spending too much by classifying many people who work there full-time as being there only on temporary duty.
That qualifies them for higher housing and travel allowances. Auditors said changing their status to a permanent assignment could save up to $184,000 a year.
However, Hill officials said temporary-duty status actually saves money because it allows them to shift personnel all over the large range and cover their meals and housing more flexibly. Also, none of the temporary-duty workers will accept a permanent assignment to the remote area, which could bring programs there to a standstill if auditors force a change.
About using expired funds for engineering projects, auditors said engineering programs overseen by Hill to allow more competition on materials that have become non-proprietary often move slow. Funds sometimes expire before they are used (sometimes improperly), or are returned to the Treasury when they could have been redirected to other Air Force needs.
About lack of utility reimbursements, auditors said they warned Hill in 1989 to bill Tooele Army Depot for underpayment of utility bills for some of its operations based at Hill, and also to bill agencies at the base that operate entertainment facilities.
Auditors found the bills had never been sent. "As a result, current utility reimbursement undercharges of $76,980 were uncollected and unused by the base," reports said.
The various problems listed were outlined in five of the 24 audit reports filed by inspectors general about Hill Air Force Base during a six-month period between April and September 1990.
The other 19 reports generally found operations at Hill to be smooth or to have only relatively minor problems, and looked at activities ranging from handling of hazardous materials to controlling operations budgets.