LAKE PLACID -- With expansion at nearly every major venue under way, the Olympic Regional Development Authority tightened its spending plan for next year.

Per Gov. David Paterson's request, every state agency was to submit budget cuts Friday trimming 3.35 percent from state-supplied funds.

At the Board of Directors meeting this week, ORDA Finance Administrator Kathy Bushy said they came up with savings of $305,000, a figure $16,000 above the required cut.

Cost reduction was accomplished with "belt tightening" measures in every department, said ORDA spokesman Sandy Caligiore.

The mandatory reduction applied only to sources of state revenue.

"It's important to note that in the state's original budget, ORDA's appropriation was going to be $8,626,000, a $400,000 increase over the previous year," Bushy clarified in an e-mail.

The executive budget approved last month allocated $8.3 million to the Olympic Authority, which is under 25 percent of ORDA's total $35.4 million budget.

ORDA INCOME

The largest sources of revenue supporting the state's Olympic facilities used for international sports competition are the two ski centers at Whiteface and Gore Mountain, which bring in nearly $20 million.

The Olympic Arena produces income close to $3 million annually, and the Town of North Elba supplies $876,354 toward ORDA operations.

The Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg, the Olympic Museum, the Olympic Store, marketing efforts and the ski jumps also support the sports and visitors facilities.

The ORDA Board moved to adopt the spending plan.

BANK SPONSORSHIP

The board members also discussed at length a plan to renew corporate sponsorship with Citizens Bank, a deal that has been in place for 10 years.

This year, Citizens Bank agreed to buy a $40,000 package in exchange for signage, promotional lift tickets and logo placement on ORDA announcements.

Board Chairman Joe Martens asked if the Marketing Department had opened the sponsorship opportunity to other banks.

Director of Corporate Development Jeff Potter said they had inquired of other banks, but ORDA has maintained a long-standing relationship with Citizens Bank, which offered a $10,000 increase for the package this year.

The 500 lift tickets included in the deal will be used, Potter said, in bank promotions to interest families in buying additional lift tickets.

A new bar-coding system at ORDA will allow the Marketing Department to track return on the promotional lift tickets.

Directors asked for a more detailed accounting of how the sponsorship-agreement value was determined and requested that all lift tickets included in the deal be used for promotional purposes.

SKI EXPANSIONS

In his report, ORDA President and CEO Ted Blazer said new ski lifts are arriving now at both Gore and Whiteface mountains.

The Lookout Mountain expansion will be completed at Whiteface this summer, with new lifts at Burnt Ridge going up at Gore Mountain. The investment for both ski areas totals $8 million.

A Ski Bowl expansion at Gore Mountain was approved this spring by the Adirondack Park Agency, and a new biathlon shooting range is being built behind the MacKenzie-Intervale Ski Jumping Complex in Lake Placid.

ORDA is working on an APA permit application to install a zipline -- an aerial harness ride -- beside the jumps.

In addition, the Wilmington water project is bringing needed water-supply upgrades to Whiteface, Blazer said.

The growth comes at a time of prosperity for the Olympic Authority.

"We've had one great winter season and one great year overall," Blazer said, crediting staff and venue operations for excellence.

kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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