March 28, 2013

Comptroller criticizes ORDA over deficit

LAKE PLACID — A financial snapshot of the Olympic Regional Development Authority raised the concern of New York’s comptroller.

According to the “By the Numbers” report, ORDA earned operating revenue (from sales) of $22.98 million last fiscal year, but operating expenses were $39.93 million —  a deficit of about $16.95 million.

When capital contributions from New York state, North Elba and the Economic Development Corp. are factored in, the Comptroller reported that ORDA spent $40.4 million and took in $39.7 million in revenues in 2012.

“The authority’s financial statements identified an operating loss of $16.9 million in 2012,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office said. 

In addition, operations rely on a line of credit to use before grant monies are released.

“ORDA has maintained up to a $7 million private line of credit, which it calls on to fill periodic funding shortfalls in operating revenues and to fund projects while it awaits payment of (Empire State Development Corp.) grant funding.”


A bar chart in the report shows that revenue dropped significantly from 2007, when income topped out at close to $52 million, to a low of about $37 million in 2010.

Revenue has increased in the past two years.

The chart shows expenditures have dropped from about $43 million in 2010 to just over $40 million last year.

State-aid cuts to ORDA began in 2008, and funding from New York has decreased by half, from $8.6 million in five years ago to about $4.7 million this fiscal year, accounting for part of the revenue loss.

The review shows Olympic venues are operating in the red but by a lesser margin than in the past two years.

ORDA reported revenue declined by $3.1 million in 2012 due to warm weather, and fewer ski days, last winter.


The report is not an audit, according to Comptroller’s Office Deputy Press Secretary Kate Gurnett.

“It’s really more of a review. All state public authorities have to report to PARIS (Public Authorities Reporting Information System),” she said Wednesday.

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