NY's ORDA to be Audited

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SAM Magazine--March 28, 2013--New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced yesterday that he will launch a full financial audit of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) after a report by his office found that financial issues persist at a time when its operations have been expanded to include Belleayre Mountain.

"ORDA's venues have long been an essential part of the North Country economy, which heightens the need to ensure its stability and accountability to the public," DiNapoli says. "We will examine selected financial management practices related to payroll, procurement and other areas."

ORDA was created in 1981 and runs Whiteface, Gore and, now, Belleayre.

The report DiNapoli references details operational losses and a reliance on a line of credit from a private bank to meet its spending needs. According to the report, in the last reported fiscal year, ORDA spent $40.4 million and took in $39.7 million in revenues, largely from fees for skiing, skating and other activities, as well as state and local financial contributions. ORDA receives financial support from the state, the town of North Elba, the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York Power Authority. The authority's financial statements identified an operating loss of $16.9 million in 2012. ORDA has maintained up to a $7 million private line of credit, which it uses to fill periodic funding shortfalls in operating revenues, and to fund projects while it waits for grant funding. As of fiscal year end March 31, 2012, ORDA reported 304 active procurement contracts totaling nearly $27.5 million, of which 167, valued at nearly $7 million, were either not competitively bid or were non-contract procurements.

At the end of the release, DiNapoli stated that New York's continued reliance on public authorities heightens the need for improved accountability and transparency.