Thursday, April 19, 2007

Capital Project Audits Show Continuing Problems

The City of Milwaukee’s Comptroller Office released its audit of the Canal Street expansion project. The audit was requested by Alderman Murphy in order to determine why the project cost millions of dollars more than was originally projected. The audit determined that the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) had never provided an accurate cost estimate of the entire project.

The most disturbing part of the audit is that many of the recommendations to improve the capital project planning process were made four years ago in the comptroller’s audit of the 3rd District Police Station project. These recommendations include the development of better cost estimation procedures; a cohesive system for monitoring and reporting capital projects; and a comprehensive project budgeting system rather than separate budgets for different project components.

The city is currently involved in a very large, expensive capital project: the City Hall restoration. According to DPW and the Department of Administration, the process for this project is going much more smoothly and is in accordance with some of the comptroller’s recommendations. Hopefully, these mechanisms will keep the city’s capital projects in check.

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