FCRA budget deficit, sports facilities discussed

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 170 views 

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) said goodbye to one of its own and addressed current budget deficit numbers Thursday (May 17).

To kick off its regularly scheduled meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept the resignation of J. Michael Milton, who served on the trust for 10 years.

Milton wrote to board members, stating “my resignation does not imply that I no longer want to assist Chaffee Crossing in its future growth—I will continue to be available to assist in any way possible.”

Milton’s resignation letter, which did not state a specific reason for his stepping down, was submitted April 20, taking effect May 1. For Executive Director Ivy Owen and the rest of the FCRA, Milton’s contributions “will be missed.”

Second on the agenda, the board looked at budget deficit numbers, which currently reflect a net operating loss of $550,275 through April 2012, with April itself accounting for $63,597 of the overall red.

According to FCRA member Bob Bradford, the numbers paint a bleaker picture than what is actually there. For starters, Bradford notes, planned budget expenses allowed for $768,237 through the first four months of the year. Actual total expenses are $618,545, meaning this area of the budget is around 19.48% ahead.

However, numbers are coming up short in the total income department. While the FCRA planned for $1.790 million through April 2012, it has only taken in $426,356. When looking at the real estate offers for purchase that have been made and accepted at this point, Chaffee Crossing shows a significant surplus, though it will not be reflected in the budget until after all closing dates have passed.

Janet Menshek, director of finance for FCRA, notes that $2.2 million worth of property will close in June and July with an additional $1.7 million in the “next couple of months following those.” Thus far, the board has approved around $7.07 million worth of real estate sales that are expected to finalize before the end of 2012, while having planned for only $4 million for the entire year.

On the topic of real estate transactions, the board also approved two alterations to existing sales for Old Dominion Freight Lines and South Point Assembly of God Church.

Originally, Old Dominion had offered $30,000 per acre for a 10-acre parcel of land south of Graphic Packaging, but concerns over an unusable drainage corridor led the board to shift the land area slightly, and move the purchase to 12.98 acres at the same rate, totaling $390,000. The FCRA will deed an additional three acres, which include the drainage corridor, to the City of Fort Smith at a later date, and will shoulder a $300,000 cost of extending an existing road to the corner of the new property.

Similarly, South Point Assembly of God was concerned about a gas well on the original parcel of land that members had presented an offer for in February, Owen said. The board voted unanimously to shift that land area to another location along Chad Colley Boulevard at the same purchase price as before ($125,000).

In other news, Owen informed board members the River Valley Sports Complex will progress in 2013, and that in addition to the eight-field softball complex, there will be room to grow.

Owen said Chaffee Crossing will move forward with a 265-acre planned unit development that will “serve as a planning document for future expansion of the sports complex,” noting that there currently exists room for two additional soccer fields, “to be built adjacent to the current ones.”

Owen indicated the Fort Smith Express Soccer League would operate any future soccer development and that the fields would become a “non-contiguous extension of Ben Geren Park, if all goes according to plan.”

In addition to this item, Owen said he is now in talks with the Fort Smith Juniors Volleyball Club, who according to Owen, “has expressed an interest in building an indoor volleyball facility,” which would be located “on the northwest side of the soccer fields (at Chaffee Crossing).”

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the FCRA will take place June 21.