July 10, 2014

State audit criticizes ORDA finances

LAKE PLACID — The State Comptroller’s Office says the Olympic Regional Development Authority needs better financial planning to deal with millions of dollars in budget shortfalls.

An audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said ORDA relies on loans and outside contributions to cover cash shortages and has borrowed to cover its basic operating costs, including payroll. 


In the last reported fiscal year — April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014 — ORDA spent $40.4 million and took in $39.7 million.

From April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2013, ORDA’s losses totaled $4.2 million on a cash basis, the audit revealed. But when depreciation, accounts receivable and post-employment benefits due to its employees were added, the agency’s losses totaled $45 million. 

In some cases, other state agencies paid ORDA’s bills, including $1.5 million of capital lease payments that the agency had not paid since December 2008.

“ORDA’s continuing struggles to maintain fiscal balance show that the authority needs to explore new ways to save costs and commit to sound financial planning going forward,” DiNapoli said in a news release.

“ORDA needs to develop a realistic and detailed multi-year financial plan to build its cash reserves and maintain operations for the economic benefit of local communities, as well as the tens of thousands of people who enjoy its attractions.”


ORDA spokesman John Lundin told the Press-Republican on Wednesday that the organization has just finished reviewing the findings in the audit.

“We’ve been working with the (State) Division of Budget and working on programs to address many of the recommendations in the audit,” he said. 

“The overall goal is to generate additional revenue and capital, with more revenue at ORDA’s venues and more energy-efficient operations.”


ORDA operates the Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski centers in the Adirondacks, the Olympic facilities in Lake Placid and the Belleayre Ski Area in the Catskills.

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