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SAAA still hurting, eyes financial progress

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging remains in the red but officials predict making financial progress over the next year.

The SAAA board on Friday expressed a pressing need for donations to help bring the agency back into the black. The SAAA board voted unanimously to approve its fiscal 2013 budget after hearing a report from Jonathan Price, the agency's director of fiscal operations. The SAAA operates on a fiscal period from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

"The decisions made have reduced expenses significantly and I think that's what makes this budget work," said board Chairman John Hudson. "We're a leaner and meaner agency now and even though we are experiencing reduced funding from some sources, our efforts to reduce expenses have offset that to the point of hopefully having a $136,000 budget surplus at the end of 2013."

At the same time the agency continued to fund and provide its core services to clients "uninterrupted," Hudson said.

But the surplus likely won't last given the agency's outstanding debts. The agency remained in the red by $336,937.35, according to Price. A balance sheet provided by Price shows that during the period between Oct. 1 and July 31, 2012, the agency had total assets of $430,102.19. However the agency still had liabilities of $763,237.65.

Price advised the board the fiscal 2013 budget includes a surplus of $136,000. The agency experienced some cuts in revenue from federal sources but mostly at the state level, according to Price. As the official explained, if expenses exceed the revenue received from the state funding agency, then the SAAA must rely on local money to fill the spending gap.

However, Hudson explained that as the agency continues to receive new bills from vendors just as the SAAA makes efforts to pay off old debts. Price told the board the brunt of the agency's past due bills date from the previous fiscal year. The agency can only use unrestricted funds to pay off its past debts, Price said. Some of the $136,000 projected surplus would be used to help pay off the old debt, he said.

Hudson noted that the decisions made by the appointed body over the recent months to change policies and procedures at the SAAA has saved the agency money. The board and administration cut staff, some projects and other expenses, Hudson said. The board saved the SAAA $100,000 by adjusting the agency's sick leave pay out policy, according to Price.

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