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Development authority continues budget review
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The Liberty County Development Authority continues to look at its upcoming budget to see how to best manage long-term debt, reduce capital projects and maintain line items.

Carmen Cole, director of administration and finance for the authority, said the board members met last week to review what has been proposed for the upcoming year, and on Thursday they discussed options for a long-term debt plan with Tim Hargrove with Prism Municipal Advisors, LLC, a financial advisory firm.

The agency’s total long-term debt outstanding, when combining debt related to governmental activities, capital assets and business-type activities, is $43,683,735.

“The meeting [Thursday] was to show some scenarios of how best to structure the operations and debt sides going forward,” Cole said. Hargrove created a dynamic model for the LCDA, she added, and members looked at options for timelines ranging from five to 30 years.

Board members had urged the development of a cash flow analysis at workshop meetings earlier this year. Cole said the authority still is negotiating some of its notes with lenders, and the agency also will conduct an additional review of line items in the budget to see where else cuts can be made.

One of the items the authority hopes to save money on is the water reclamation facility at Tradeport East Business Center. Cole said though the system should be self-supporting, a lack of users means the authority is now looking into grant opportunities to help with costs.

The biggest change between this year’s budget and last year’s, she said, is that the authority has reduced its capital projects again, “and we will probably try to cut further.”

Capital projects that remain a focus for the LCDA are road, water and sewer projects for the Firth Rixson Forgings plant at Tradeport East. Construction on the U.K.-based foundry is expected to create more than 200 jobs when it is finally completed. The Liberty County facility will manufacture components used primarily in the aerospace industry.

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