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December 10, 2009



Good News Survey Finds Local Governments
Properly Bid Federal Stimulus Highway Projects

Ten local governments across the Southern Tier and western New York regions properly bid purchases and contracts for highway projects paid for with federal stimulus funds, according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. This audit is part of DiNapoli’s ongoing effort to make sure state and local governments are making the best use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

“This audit contains good news for taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “It shows that officials are abiding by the rules – making sure they receive quality goods and services for the best possible price. Federal stimulus moneys may not be coming directly out of the pocket of local property taxpayers but tax dollars are tax dollars, and every dime should be used wisely.”

The audit covered the cities of Binghamton and Corning, the counties of Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Steuben, Sullivan and Yates, and the Village of Arkport. The audit was conducted according to generally accepted government auditing standards.

General Municipal Law (GML) requires that local governments advertise for competitive bids that exceed certain thresholds. Purchase contracts exceeding $10,000 and contracts for public work exceeding $20,000 are subject to competitive bidding under the law. Municipal contracts must also be awarded to the “lowest responsible bidder.” Governments may also use state-listed contractors in lieu of advertising for bids.

Auditors found that:

  • Binghamton advertised for bids for its Main Street Resurfacing, receiving four bids and awarded a contract to the lowest bidder for approximately $770,000.
  • Chenango awarded a contract to the lowest bidder for approximately $823,000 – after receiving five bids.
  • Arkport, Corning, Schuyler and Steuben used state contractors for seven ARRA highway projects.
  • Otsego awarded a $799,959 contract for its county Route 33 Project to the lowest bidder. The successful bidder provided a performance bond for $799,959 in accordance with the terms and conditions of the specifications.
  • Sullivan awarded a contract for its Bridge Painting Project to the lowest bidder for $1,993,853. The successful bidder provided a performance bond for $1,993,853 in accordance with the terms and conditions of the specifications.
  • Delaware properly bid the project and received multiple bids. It awarded the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
  • Yates officials had not yet entered into a formal relationship with a state contract vendor, but indicated they would do so.

To view the audit, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/swr/2009/southerntierfederalstimulus.pdf.

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