The Town of Hempstead will save approximately $31,680 over the next three years as the result of an external telecommunications audit.
The audit, conducted by Cost Control Associates, found multiple disconnected and non-functioning phone lines as well as the savings, Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen announced Thursday.
“Small changes can often lead to big savings in America’s largest township,” Gillen said in a statement. “My administration is keenly focused on exploring every opportunity to deliver savings for taxpayers in the town.”
Under a new services contract, the town will save 14 percent on basic phone and internet services for 1,600 lines, according to the audit. The previous spending totaled $74,880 annually, and the new contract will be $64,320 per year.
The outside audit was put forward by Gillen and unanimously approved by the town Board last May. The resolution posed to identify potential refunds for past errors and overcharges, as well as future savings opportunities.
On Wednesday, Gillen called for an outside audit of the town’s Building Department, in an attempt to optimize efficiency.
“This operational audit and review will help identify ways in which technology, mapping, real-time data capturing can further modernize the operation and make the permitting process seamless and safety standards transparent,” Gillen said.
The department processes an average of over 9,000 applications each year for new and existing homes, and is the go-to for ongoing Superstorm Sandy repairs, according to Gillen. Gillen said the town’s building department is one of the busiest in the nation.
“Fresh eyes and different perspectives,” from an outside auditor may help the town identify methods to increase efficiency and cut down on wait times for residents, Gillen said.
FTI Consulting of Manhattan has been selected through a bidding process by a committee including representatives from the supervisor’s office, town attorney’s office and building department.
Gillen said she will propose a resolution for the $155,000 contract to the town board at one of the meetings to come.
The town has also authorized the refinancing of $26 million in bonds over the next five years, saving approximately $1.5 million in that time period, according to Gillen’s office.
“As the chief executive and financial officer of the Town of Hempstead, it is my responsibility to protect the financial future of our residents,” Gillen said. “We seized this unique opportunity to save taxpayers money without hesitation.”
The bonds will be refinanced at 1.7 percent, much lower than the 4 percent interest rate Hempstead had been paying when the borrowing was undertaken in 2010.