Thursday, June 19, 2008

Audit Finance Committee Meeting

The Audit Finance Committee is meeting tonight in the High School Library at 7:30pm. The agenda is as follows:

1) Fund Balance Reserves- After recently having the budget pass, it will be important to review our fund balances today and what they will look like heading into the High School Project.

2) Capital Project Status- We will be conducting a review of our Capital Projects. I will be looking to see how we have done with our approved projects in relation to what we budgeted for those projects back in February.

3) Preparation for Retirement Healthcare Fund- One of the things that we started with the passage of the 2008-2009 budget was the funding of a Retiree Healthcare Fund. Please review what I have said about this fund here or here. How much we put into this fund will partly depend on how our 2007-2008 budgets ends up. If possible, I'd like to see us fund it as far out as possible. We know what the costs will be up until I think 2010-2011. After that, things are not so clear. At about $480,000/yr, the costs are significant.

4) New Development Projects and Tax Revenues- This is an item I asked to be added to the agenda. One of the things I owe you is my analysis at the debt for the District. Off the top of my head I believe we are over $75 million in debt. We will be paying between $5 and $6 million per year in debt service payments all the way out to the year 2030. This amount is roughly equal to 2.5 to 3.0 mills (1 mill generates about $2 million in revenue to the District) out of the 23.56 total mills in last years budget. With a high school project set to perhaps more than double our outstanding debt, I thought we might want to take a look at how we service our debt. As I look out a few years on the horizon and see a few significant construction projects, I thought it might makes sense to weigh the question of whether we might proactively reserve a percentage of any new real estate tax revenues related to new development to pay down our significant debt. Putting this in our Board policy could perhaps be a way for us to significantly reduce our debt load in the near and long term. We have a hotel going in downtown, we have the TRID (development at the T station in Mt Lebanon) happening around 2012, we have the Bower Hill Condominum property, and we have the new office buildings across from the Castle Shannon T stop. These projects will generate significant new revenue for the District.

I look forward to the discussion the above items generate.