SCDA Approves Revised Budget

The Stephens County Development Authority passes a revised budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

Three months into the Fiscal Year, the Development Authority unanimously approved a revised budget for the current fiscal year at its meeting Tuesday.

That revision reduced the total budget amount by just over $52,000 from about $398,000 to just over $346,000

Most of the reductions came in what the Development Authority calls programmatic expenses.  These include areas like marketing and communication, spending on attraction and recruitment, and money spent on existing industry.

Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin said that the Authority felt it was an appropriate time to re-examine the budget and make some changes.

“Every single day, we are to be as conscious as we can be with our finances,” said Martin.  “We are going to continue to do that.”

Even with the budget cuts, the Development Authority is still facing a budget gap of about $236,000 that it will cover by taking funds from its reserve fund.

The gap exists because this Fiscal Year’s Development Authority revenues total just $110,000, with the Stephens County Commission providing $50,000 and the Toccoa City Commission providing $40,000.

That budget gap concerns local resident and former banker Gordon Telford, who spoke on the budget at Tuesday’s Development Authority meeting.

He said he feels the Authority needs to look at reducing the budget even further to protect the Development Authority’s reserve.

“You approved a budget greater than the revenue you are scheduled to receive,” said Telford.  “If so, will you reduce the budget to ensure the solvency of the Authority beyond this year and future years.  Will the SCDA be an asset to this community when the four-lane highway connecting I-85 to Toccoa-StephensCounty is complete or will this Authority be bankrupt?”

Martin said the Authority appreciates Mr. Telford’s thoughts and contributions.

Back in July, Martin reported that the Development Authority had about $500,000 in reserves available.

Martin went on to say that such a reserve fund allows the Development Authority flexibility to deal with fiscal years such as the current one.

In other financial news from Tuesday’s Development Authority meeting, the Authority received a clean audit report for last fiscal year.

Martin said the Authority is very pleased to receive that news.