Looking ahead: ADA holds planning session for FY 2021

Drew Butler
The Ardmore Development Authority meets Monday at the Ardmore Convention Center. The group chose to meet there instead of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce in order to more easily practice social distancing guidelines.

The Ardmore Development Authority held a special meeting at the Ardmore Convention Center on Monday. Among the items on the agenda was a planning session for the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. During the meeting Mita Bates, president and CEO, presented the board with some of the activities and initiatives the staff thought would be good priorities for the upcoming year and then sought feedback and input about the ideas presented.

The planning session began with a quick rundown of the financial status of the organization.

“I think it’s important that we discuss where we are (financially) because we’re hearing so many stories about organizations in dire situations,” Bates said. “I take great pride in being good stewards of the funds we have, and I think it’s important that we go over what we have available, and what funds are restricted to specific areas.”

The organization has just over $9.7 million in funds restricted to be used only at the airpark, though the vast majority of these funds ($7.5 million) are currently held in certificates of deposit. The rest of the funds are divided to be used between regular operations, specific projects and capital projects.

The organization has over $3.2 million in unrestricted funds. Even though labeled unrestricted, this too is divided into three accounts and over $1 million has been allocated to be used for land purchases.

After going over the current financials, Bates outlined a few potential projects for the ADA in the upcoming year.

One suggestion was creating an “Ardmore closing fund” to help give businesses the final push into committing to opening a facility and therefore bringing jobs into the area. The amount offered to any company would vary depending on the number and quality of jobs they would provide.

Bates said this is becoming increasingly common from communities that want to bring industry into their area.

“As the business market gets more competitive, and we’re all out looking for new opportunities, a closing fund is almost an essential part of that,” Bates said.

The board also discussed potential projects for Airpark improvements. One idea involved a potential mural being placed on the former air base gymnasium located near the entrance to the industrial park.

As the meeting drew to a close, Bates told the board members the staff would take all of the ideas discussed into account when drawing up a budget for the new fiscal year. The board will vote on the budget next month.