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Effingham IDA approves FY14 budget
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Even with one big project set to commence and other project still in the offing, the Effingham Industrial Development Authority will have a smaller budget for its upcoming fiscal year.

IDA members approved a budget of just less than $6 million, down from the fiscal year 2013 budget of $6.76 million. The IDA anticipates collecting $3.15 million from the 2 mills of property tax it receives, but the total operating revenue is pegged at only $3.55 million.

While there are no increases for salaries and wages in the budget, the IDA does expect to spend more on consultants and professional services, mostly because of projects and bonds.

IDA Chairman Dennis Webb acknowledged the expenditures for professional services are projected to rise for fiscal year 2014.

"Our operating expenditures show a slight increase because of the professional services we’ll need for our projects," he said. "This is a reflection of the project activity we have."

The IDA and Medient, a film studio planning a massive studio, DVD and video game production facility at the IDA’s I-16 northern tract, are expected to enter into a lease agreement next month. The company and the IDA signed a memorandum of understanding in March.

The IDA also is continuing in its pursuit of Project Stella, though no memorandum of understanding has been finalized.

Though the IDA will spend $15,000 less on advertising and promotion in FY14, it is pushing its consultants and professional services line item up by $20,000. Total operating expenditures are increasing from $765,500 to $791,900.

Non-operating capital expenditures are projected to fall from $3.5 million in FY13 to $2.7 million in FY14. The park development for the IDA’s Effingham Industrial Park at Highways 21 and 275 is getting a boost from $35,000 to $600,000, but the I-16 park development outlay is falling by nearly half. Budgeted for $3 million for FY13, the I-16 park development budget will be under $1.8 million for FY 14, with $1.25 million set aside for the Medient project.

Total non-operating expenditures are falling from nearly $6 million FY 13 to $.5.2 million for the coming fiscal year, a cut of more than $700,000.

The FY13 budget also called for more than $2.9 million in capital reserves to be used, but the budget approved Thursday morning will use only $1.25 million in capital reserves. The IDA also expects to recoup $1.2 million from the sale of timber on its property.

"Our cash flow is met, and our liquidity works," Webb said.