COLUMBUS, Ohio - As much as $7.4 million could be saved by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) by mowing grass less often, as outlined in the performance audit interim report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
"We need to cut back by mowing less," Auditor Yost said. "Sometimes, it’s the simplest solutions that have the greatest impact."
In calendar years 2010 and 2011, ODOT performed slightly more than four complete vegetation mowing cycles each year. Auditors compared this to ten similar states and found that Ohio could reduce its mowing to a three-cycle standard and maintain an acceptable roadway condition. Mowing at a standard of three cycles could save ODOT approximately $4.4 million each year. An additional $3 million could be saved each year by reducing another mowing cycle by employing an integrated vegetation management system.
The report also recommends that ODOT centrally coordinate the delivery of geotechnical services, including the determination of the most cost effective delivery option across the districts. In doing so, ODOT could have saved $233,000 in 2011. Additionally, the report offers recommendations to optimize the use of snooper trucks to conduct bridge inspections. ODOT is already taking steps to implement these recommendations.
This interim report is part of an agency-wide performance audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation. Legislation championed by Auditor Yost in 2011 requires performance audits be conducted of four state agencies each biennium. Other state agencies chosen to undergo performance audits this biennium are the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.