EDA approves budget

Published 10:30 pm Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Suffolk Economic Development authority approved its $1.9 million budget in its Wednesday meeting.

The budget is mostly unchanged from last year, with only small adjustments in most categories. It is a significant decrease, however, from the amount actually spent last year, because the city infused an un-budgeted $1.2 million for Economic Development Incentive Program grants, which the EDA handed out last year.

The majority of the authority’s revenue and expenses relate to the Health and Human Services building, which it owns and maintains. It collects more than $1.5 million in rent each year from the Department of Social Services and the Health Department, the building’s two tenants.

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It spends most of that money on debt service, utilities, lawn services, maintenance and other needs for the building.

The authority also collects on a lease at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront for the hotel and conference center.

Its various expenses include the façade program, which grants money to business owners in downtown and the city’s major corridors who improve the look of their properties. The authority also owns and maintains several local industrial parks.

In other business at the meeting, the authority approved two Economic Development Investment Program grants. Massimo Zanetti Beverage Company will receive $55,000 for its $4 million investment in new coffee “pods” to be produced at its Suffolk facility in Wilroy Industrial Park.

In addition, Chesapeake Wildlife Products on East Washington Street, which processes peanuts for wildlife consumption, will receive an EDIP grant of $17,000.

This was the first meeting after the death of member Fritz Skeeter, and members memorialized him at the beginning of the meeting.

“Certainly our hearts were saddened at the loss of Mr. Skeeter,” Dwight Nixon said.