Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority gets clean bill of health from financial audit

by Aric Mitchell (aric.mitchell@gmail.com) 12 views 

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) received a clean bill of health from an independent financial audit administered by Przybysz and Associates.

Also at the Thursday (Dec. 15) meeting, the board renewed terms for two of its members and announced the retirement of Robert Evans after 14 years with the Authority.

Przybysz and Associates led the meeting with revelations from its financial audit of FCRA through Dec. 31, 2015. According to the accounting firm, FCRA’s total assets exceeded liabilities by $18.2 million at the close of 2015 with a net position decrease of $263,804. Of total net position at year-end, $1.8 million was invested in fixed assets and $16.397 million was considered “unrestricted resources that may be used to meet the Authority’s ongoing obligations,” said Marc Lux, Przybysz audit partner.

Total revenues during 2015 were $4.363 million, an increase of $1.793 million from 2014, while total expenses were $3.752 million, an increase of $1.085 million.

Assets for 2015 increased by $941,760 (25%) due to an increase in cash. Capital assets decreased by $962,155 (6%) due to property sales and transfers. FCRA’s mission is to sell property for redevelopment and reinvest the sale proceeds into infrastructure, which become assets of the respective municipalities (i.e. Fort Smith, Barling, Sebastian County, etc.).

Since 2003, the FCRA has completed $13.562 million in infrastructure projects, which consist of roadway and water/wastewater utilities.

Total liabilities for 2015 were $599,759, an increase of $243,409 (68%) over the previous year. This was mainly the net result of a $455,192 increase in payables for road and utility construction and a $204,329 decrease in insurance proceeds, which were funds received in a previous year and spent during 2015 for repair of buildings damaged by a windstorm.

“The Authority had no long-term debt at year-end,” the report concluded.

At a study session of the Fort Smith Board of Directors on Tuesday, FCRA Executive Director Ivy Owen said the Authority was down to its last 1,754 acres of marketable land with an additional 841 acres in “wetlands.” Selling at a rate of just over 275 acres per year for the last 16 years, Owen expects the Authority is 6 to 8 years from fulfilling its mission.

The authority formed in 1997 to begin the process of converting deeded military property to industrial, commercial, residential, and recreational use. It was a response to the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, which recommended in 1995 a permanent closure of Fort Chaffee, then an active U.S. Army post with around 72,000 acres. The federal government opted to lease 65,000 acres to the Arkansas Army National Guard for training purposes, returning the remainder to civilian authorities for reuse, thus creating a need for the organization.

Also Thursday, Dean Gibson and Chuck Peacock agreed to serve additional five-year terms to the FCRA. Evans was presented with an award for his years of service on the board, but was not in attendance to accept. A meeting will be held on Jan. 16, 2017, where applications and resumes for interested parties will be presented in the search for a replacement. Owen said the search will focus on applicants from the Greenwood area, which Evans had represented during his terms.

The next regular meeting of the FCRA will be held that same week on Jan. 19.

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