IDA’s finances in good shape

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The finances of Suffolk’s Industrial Development Authority are intact, showing clear signs of progress over the past fiscal year, an independent auditor’s report presented on Wednesday indicates.

Assets exceed outstanding commitments by $12.1 million, while the authority has bolstered its economic development priorities, namely the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center slated for opening next year.


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Cherry Bekaert & Holland certified public accountants and consultants examined the IDA’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, and found that the period &uot;ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.&uot;

The detailed findings of the auditors were reviewed at the IDA’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, which, in part, concludes that:

Of the $12.1 million in assets that exceed its liabilities, $7.8 million represents unrestricted net assets, which may be used to meet the authority’s ongoing obligations.

The IDA’s total net assets increased by $2.7 million due to capital contributions from the city, which funds the acquisition and improvements of land for economic development.

The IDA acquired an additional 20 acres in the Northgate Commerce Park; 10 acres were sold to new and expanding businesses and industry. The authority has also sold 24 acres in the Suffolk Industrial Park.

Construction in progress increased by $8.1 million, which demonstrates the authority’s continued support of the completion of the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center project, fostering economic diversity.

In October 2003, the authority issued $18.3 million in economic development revenue bonds, which were issued to provide $13 million in project cost for the development and construction of the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center.

The bond proceeds also funded $1.7 million in capitalized interest, $1.2 million to establish a primary debt service reserve fund, and the city funded a secondary debt service reserve fund at $2.4 million.

A significant part of the authority’s net assets of $43.6 million reflects investments in land and facility development. It’s the IDA’s plan to lease these assets, upon completion to a hotel management company to operate and maintain the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center.

For the last fiscal year, 95 percent of the IDA’s operating revenue represented income for economic development incentives. As new initiatives, the authority took on the business facade improvement program, which reimburses eligible businesses for facades, fencing, signage/awning improvements, and other additions.