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August 27, 2010



DiNapoli: Stimulus Money for Capital Region Area
Highways Being Spent Right



An audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli of Capital Region area highway projects funded with federal stimulus moneys shows that local governments followed adequate claims processing procedures and made payments in accordance to contract and bid specifications. The audit is part of DiNapoli’s ongoing initiative to monitor New York’s use of federal stimulus money to protect the funding from waste, fraud and abuse.

“So far so good,” said DiNapoli. “Local governments receiving federal stimulus moneys are monitoring claims and payments to vendors to ensure public funds are being used appropriately and accurately. We’ll continue to watch how stimulus funds are being used. We’re going to protect taxpayer dollars and make sure every stimulus dime counts.”
 
The audit looked at Saratoga, Albany, Greene, Washington and Essex counties, as well as the cities of Saratoga Springs, Cohoes and Glens Falls; and the Towns of Colonie and Hoosick. Further, it reviewed the following 12 projects, covering the period of March 1, 2009 to June 4, 2010, totaling $14.5 million:
  • Albany County: Maxwell Road and Albany-Shaker road intersection;
  • City of Cohoes: Bridge Avenue bridge replacement;
  • Town of Colonie: Maxwell Road and Albany-Shaker road intersection;
  • Essex County: CR 84 (Blue Ridge Road) reconstruction;
  • Essex County: Haselton Road bridge replacement;
  • City of Glens Falls: Bay Street reconstruction;
  • Green County: New Baltimore Road bridge replacement;
  • Green County: CR 28 (Elm Ave) resurfacing;
  • Town of Hoosick: Caretaker bridge replacement;
  • Saratoga County: CR 108 (Dunning Street) resurfacing;
  • City of Saratoga Springs: Church Street reconstruction; and
  • Washington County: Clinton Street, Saunders Street and Division Street bridge replacement.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that the local governments followed sound claims processing procedures while making payments for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded highway projects. Generally, claims paid for highway-related projects were supported, accurate and in accordance with specifications.

DiNapoli’s auditors did note some minor errors in a few of the claims paid. DiNapoli recommended local officials ensure accuracy of claims by completing a claims audit prior to payment. This includes comparing the claims to the contract detail to ensure that they are accurate and necessary.

In addition to auditing different aspects of local governments’ use of stimulus funds, DiNapoli has created a website
(http://www.openbooknewyork.com/stimulus) to allow taxpayers to track contracts and spending related to New York’s share of federal stimulus funds. DiNapoli has also assigned staff to track, review and audit all stimulus fund related contracts and spending.

The audit, which was conducted according to Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards, is available here.


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