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Lehigh Valley

ANIZDA finance committee reviews budget and expenditures to date

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - "From a cash standpoint we're in fine shape," stated Paul Houck of Orefield, who serves as a consultant on the finance committee of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone District Authority (ANIZDA).

The committee met for its quarterly meeting Thursday afternoon in Allentown City Hall and reviewed and analyzed a performance-to-budget report for the second quarter and first half of this year as well as a cash flow statement for this year to date.

Houck continued saying, "We have enough cash to cover our expenses, but not a lot of unrestricted reserves right now to spend on further downtown Allentown projects." 

According to the budget report, ANIZDA shows a total annual expense budget of $1.727 million with a year-to-date budget of $863,700.

Expenses through June totaled $356,723. and consisted of city-related expenses such as utilities, insurance, payroll, maintenance repairs, and pre-opening arena costs.

In addition, miscellaneous expenses include developer and lawyer fees, compliance officer allocation, accounting and auditing, planning, and employment development programs.

"It's not like a business," remarked Robert Lovett, chairman of the finance committee.

He explained ANIZDA's income, which primarily comes from arena rental and developer fees, arrives sporadically to the authority.

He said ANIZDA's largest expense is "paying for the arena." 

Houck commented, "Our income has been very lumpy," meaning ANIZDA's revenue stream is uneven and suggested regular expenses be paid on a quarterly basis.

According to Lovett, the first two years of expenses associated with the downtown revitalization are covered by bond issues floated by the city.

ANIZDA also receives $2 million annually from the state in an allotted portion of state earned income and sales tax revenues that ANIZDA --from its beginning-- agreed to reimburse to Pennsylvania, according to ANIZDA Solicitor Jerome Frank of Bethlehem.

However, the committee questioned where it would acquire the necessary unrestricted cash flow to finance new projects in 2015.

They also agreed their annual budget be ready for review every November and audits slated for May each year.

The next quarterly meeting will be sometime in early November.

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