- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for Audit Recommends Improvements in the Operations of the Baker Hill Road District in Lanesborough
David Todisco, Deputy Communications Director
BOSTON — An audit released today by the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) recommends improvements to the operations of the Baker Hill Road District (BHRD) in Lanesborough. These improvements include: competitively procuring road maintenance services; entering into contracts for legal services; ensuring employees and Prudential Committee members comply with conflict of interest requirements; and filing required annual reports. The audit reviewed the period of January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.
“We believe the Baker Hill Road District should competitively procure road maintenance services to achieve the best value available. As an entity that is funded through tax assessments on businesses in the district, it is their responsibility to ensure they are effectively and efficiently utilizing every public dollar spent,” Bump said of the audit. “Our audits can serve as tools to help entities strengthen their operations, and it is my hope that our audit serves that intended purpose for the Baker Hill Road District.”
During the audit period, BHRD paid an attorney a total of $199,119 for legal services without a written contract for the services. Although BHRD is not required to comply with state policy requiring written contracts for services, the audit identifies that without a formal, written contract with a defined scope of services and duration, BHRD may incur unnecessary costs.
The audit also found that BHRD has not attempted to procure road maintenance services since 2014, and instead maintained an agreement with the Town of Lanesborough. While BHRD is not required to procure these services, the audit believes BHRD should ensure that all road maintenance services are the best value available.
Additionally, BHRD did not file an annual report for 2019, and employees and prudential committee members did not take required conflict of interest training or acknowledge receipt of a summary of the conflict of interest law (Chapter 268A of the Massachusetts General Laws) annually. Based on its response, the auditee is taking measures to address all concerns raised in the audit.
BHRD was formed in 1989 in response to a home rule petition filed by the Town of Lanesborough, and its scope of authority was expanded in 2018 to include engaging in economic development activities including developing, maintaining, or managing buildings or facilities. BHRD’s purpose is to own, monitor, and maintain US-7/SR-8 Connector Road (formerly Berkshire Mall Drive). Revenue to pay for the district’s operations is derived from taxes levied on the property owners in BHRD. During fiscal years 2019 and 2020, BHRD had total budgets of $772,411 and $788,519 respectively.
The audit can be viewed HERE.