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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Towns’ Road Management Plans (2014-MR-2)
We also released nine letter reports to the following Towns: Binghamton [pdf], Delhi [pdf], Dryden [pdf], Highland [pdf], Masonville [pdf], Newark Valley [pdf], Oneonta [pdf], Preston [pdf], and Schoharie [pdf].


Released: March 20, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if towns properly maintained their roads for the period January 1, 2013 through May 1, 2014.

Background

During fiscal stress, towns often defer critical road infrastructure needs in order to fund daily services. However, preventive maintenance can extend road life and help towns save money. A long-term plan, adopted by the town’s board, is critical to support road maintenance efforts and can also help towns obtain funding. Additionally, New York State Highway Law requires an annual agreement between the highway superintendent and town board for the expenditure of highway funds. Once a plan is implemented, town officials should monitor the condition of the roads, identify any patterns of variance from the plan, and modify the plans to potentially avert significant deterioration. For 2014, the nine towns in this audit budgeted from $155,000 to $950,000 to manage 25 to 119 centerline miles per town. The road management cost per centerline mile varied from $4,429 up to $10,440.

Key Findings

  • Eight towns had informal plans in place and followed a preventive maintenance cycle of surface treatment applications every several years to promote an extended road life. However, none had multiyear projections of anticipated future maintenance and repair needs and financing.
  • Five towns (Dryden, Newark Valley, Oneonta, Schoharie and Preston) had an annual plan of road work listed on their agreement approved by the board.
  • The Towns of Binghamton and Schoharie properly implemented their plans and provided for sufficient funding for the work necessary in 2014.
  • Six towns did not have adequate funding in 2014 for keeping their roads free of observable defects, and seven towns lacked the necessary records for us to determine if they implemented their plans or for the board to effectively monitor plan implementation.

Key Recommendations

  • Highway superintendents should develop, and town boards adopt, a long-term plan based on the maintenance and repair cycle that shows when each road will be worked on and how this work will be funded.
  • The highway superintendent and the board should monitor the plan by ensuring their annual agreement complies with the long-range schedule.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236