EDC board discusses budget details
By LYNETTE SOWELL
It took less than an hour on Wednesday for the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation to discuss the details of the EDC’s proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Marc Farmer, executive director of the city’s Economic Development Department, was on hand to discuss the budget with the board, as well as Ryan Haverlah, the city’s budget director/deputy city manager and EDD staff member, accounting technician Lauren Hurt.
The proposed budget starts the EDC’s fiscal year with an unreserved fund balance of a little more than $3.94 million. The EDC’s projected revenues for 2017-2018 total $1,189,375, which is sales tax revenue the EDC receives plus an anticipated $14,000 of interest income. This projected revenue is less than the budgeted revenue for the present fiscal year of $2,201,228, which also included a little more than the $1 million received from a property sale to Endeavor Real Estate earlier this year.
So far, the EDC is on track to collect in $1,374,670 in sales tax revenue for the current 2016-2017 fiscal year. That revenue is 3/8-cent of the city’s 1-1/2 cents of sales tax revenue the city receives, falling just $78,546 of the $1,453,216 it received in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
In the 2017-2018 proposed budget, the EDC’s proposed expenditures amount to $2,079,100. This includes just over $385,775 in operating expenditures. The largest chunk of the EDC’s operating expenditures include $253,731 for personnel services, with the remaining amount dedicated to supplies and materials ($5,400), maintenance and repair ($20,835), and contractual services ($104,907)
The remainder of the allotted expenditures are slotted for the EDC’s payment on the southeast reliever route ($133,000), principal and interest on its debt payments ($148,297), and $10,000 in funding dedicated to The Narrows Business & Technology Park.
The proposed budget would leave the EDC with a fund balance of $3,050,511 at the end of the fiscal year. There is also $1,401,368 slotted for the upcoming land exchange between the City of Copperas Cove and Fort Hood. $202,000 of that amount has been set aside for surveying and engineering that might be required. In past years, the budgeted land swap funding had been around $2 million. The rest of the land swap funding will be in the fund balance and ready for the following fiscal year, if needed.
The board had the opportunity to ask questions about any detailed items in the budget.
Board chair Marc Payne had a question about the reduction in EDC operating expenditures compared to the current fiscal year, budgeted at $775,043. With the proposed operating expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year being only $385,775, he wanted to know where the remainder of that funding, $389,268, would go—back to the general fund?
Haverlah told Payne that any funds not budgeted don’t go to the city’s general fund, but will remain in the EDC’s fund balance.
Another topic that came up in discussion was the amount of money that the EDC pays the city for its share of the utilities for the EDC’s office space in city hall. For example, the proposed budget includes $1,552 in electricity costs for the year, which will be paid to the city. The electricity falls under contractual services in the operating expenditures.
Haverlah explained that other city departments, like the city’s Public Works Department, pay their share of the utilities to the city’s general fund from the water and sewer fund. In the case of the EDC, that $1,552 is payment for of one-eighth of the electric bill for City Hall, of which the Economic Development Department takes up one-eighth of the space at City Hall.
“The EDC will only be charged for and pay for the actual services received,” Haverlah told the board. “The only other option is to come up with a specific formula that the board agrees to and pays an administrative reimbursement on a regular basis—which is what we do with our other funds, because their costs are going to fluctuate.”
Some of the budget discussion also included the budgeted amount of professional development training that totals $26,000. Those amounts are for specific training and conferences for Marc Farmer, totaling $12,000, training for other EDC staff totaling $8,000, and training for three board members for $6,000.