DiNapoli: So Far, Stimulus Money
For Local Highways Being Spent Right
An audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli of some of the first local highway projects across New York state funded with federal stimulus moneys shows that highway departments made sure they got the best prices possible from construction contractors – and took the steps necessary to ensure the contractors were able to do the job. The audit is part of DiNapoli’s ongoing initiative to audit New York’s use of federal stimulus money to be sure the funding is protected from waste, fraud and abuse.
“This is a good start,” said DiNapoli. “Local governments receiving federal stimulus moneys are making sure they’re hiring contractors who will get the job done as specified, at the best possible price. We’ll continue to watch how stimulus funds are being used. The state and local governments across New York have to make every stimulus dime count, and our audits and oversight will make sure they do that.”
The audit of Nassau, Westchester, Alleghany and Essex counties, as well as the cities of Watervliet, Cohoes, Glens Falls, Plattsburgh and Watertown is the first in a series of local government audits DiNapoli has planned to ensure effective use of New York’s share of federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The audit reviewed 12 projects by the nine municipalities, totaling $30.8 million. The audit covered the period of March to August 2009.
DiNapoli’s audit found that the local governments followed sound procurement procedures when awarding contracts funded by the ARRA. Six of them adhered to bidding laws and appropriately awarded their ARRA highway projects to the lowest responsible bidders. The remaining three local governments indicated they would save money by using state contract vendors for their projects.
In addition to auditing different aspects of local governments’ use of stimulus funds, DiNapoli 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 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 Auditing Standards, is available at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/swr/2009/federalstimulus.pdf.