2013-01-16 / Front Page

Liu: Half Of Parks Projects Finish Behind Schedule, Overbudget

City Comptroller John C. Liu announced on January 11 that the Parks Department’s failure to monitor its capital construction projects had allowed almost half of those projects to finish late and 10 percent to go significantly over budget in Fiscal Years (FY) 2010 and 2011.
“New Yorkers and visitors alike love our parks. Repairs and upgrades must be better managed, not only to reduce wasteful spending, but also to minimize the duration of park closures,” Liu said. “The Parks Department can do better.”
In FY2010 through FY2011, the Parks Department completed 315 capital construction projects, at a cost of $496.3 million. Comptroller Liu’s audit found that:
•149 (47 percent) of those projects finished late. The projects were 218 days late on average. These late projects were supposed to have been completed within 284 days on average, so the delays resulted in almost doubling the length of time planned for completion.
•30 projects combined to rack up $10 million in cost overruns, over and above the additional $8.6 million in contingency allowances for overruns that they burned through. The projects had been budgeted at a combined cost of $69.6 million.
•Despite spending $4 million to correct consultants’ design errors and omissions on various projects, the Parks Department did not use its right to try and recoup the money.
Liu’s Audit Bureau launched the audit in response to numerous complaints from New Yorkers, including calls to the comptroller’s 212-NO-WASTE hotline, and after independently assessing that an examination of the agency’s capital projects was warranted.
The audit recommended several steps that the Parks Department should take to better ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. For example, the audit recommended that the Parks Department flag projects for priority completion so that delayed work can be expedited.
The audit is available for download at http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/bureaus/audit/yearlyview.asp?selaudyear=2013.
The complete list of projects that were delayed or overbudget is available in the audit’s appendix.
The following Parks projects in Queens were significantly overbudget and delayed:
Schoolyards at P.S. 129, P.S. 79, J.H.S. 25 and P.S. 159 were delayed by 53 days and $182,000 over budget; schoolyards at P.S. 116 and I.S. 238 were delayed by 284 and $100,949 over budget.

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