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LCDA receives $1.27M in remuneration funds
Finance director: Use of funds currently uncertain
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After almost a year of waiting, the Liberty County Development Authority announced May 7 that it received $1.27 million in remuneration funds from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment.

“It was the full amount that we requested, so we got every penny of it,” Tolley said about the $1,272,843 award that stems from the Army’s 2009 decision to not station a new brigade at Fort Stewart.

LCDA finance and administration director Carmen Cole said the revenue was anticipated in the current fiscal year budget, but that she’s unsure whether the authority will need to use the money due to cuts in expenditures.

“I don’t know what it will go for at this point, it’s just in an account,” Cole said, adding that she will seek input from their financial advisor about whether the amount is best applied to debt, operations or both.

The board also awarded a $52,440 three-year accounting services contract with Thigpen, Lanier, Westerfield & Deal CPAs, with an annual cost of $17,480.

The scope of the work for the firm includes preparation of monthly financial statements and the annual report. Cole will still complete the day-to-day financial tasks and submit the information to the firm.

The move aims to relieve Cole of her workload and to ensure the entity’s audit is conducted in a timely manner, as it has been delayed in recent years.

Board member Paul Krebs said he agrees with the need for someone to complete the work, but he asked where the entity would cut costs to make up for the expenditure.

A full-time financial assistant position, which ran about $50,000 a year between salary and benefits, officially has been eliminated, Tolley said.

“This is probably roughly a third of the total expense for that,” he added.

In other news, the LCDA board also:

• approved a contract reduction with U.S. Lawns Landscape Management that reduces its second-year amount from $91,817.28 to $85,593.50 because Hinesville Technology Park Florapharm has opted to maintain its own landscaping.

• approved a monthly retainer fee reduction from $2,000 to $1,000 for May and June for PRISM Municipal Advisors, the entity’s financial advisor. After June, the advisor will no longer be on retainer and will work on a case-by-case basis with the LCDA.

• discussed having an appraisal done on a number of its vacant properties. Two outparcels on Airport Road near the Hinesville Technology Park and an 8-acre parcel with frontage on I-95 are among the properties to be appraised.

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