FRONT ROYAL - The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority’s fiscal year 2018 audit, which is about 10 months overdue, should hopefully be completed by the year’s end, according to EDA Executive Director Douglas Parsons.
Parsons on Thursday during his report to the EDA Reform Committee said that the EDA’s accountants should be finished preparing proposed adjusted journal entries by Sept. 27. Then, he said, the books will be turned over to the EDA’s auditing firm Yount Hyde and Barbour.
Parsons said a completed audit will let the EDA know its financial standing to whatever extent the auditors are able to reconstruct financial activity over the last several years.
He noted that the EDA has about $41.9 million in debt and $1.8 million in cash and that debt will be reduced when the town takes over the financing of the Front Royal Police Department’s construction and when properties are sold.
Regarding the EDA’s properties, Parsons noted that the authority is working on a sales contract for its building at 404 Fairground Road. The buyer, he said, has asked the EDA to keep its identity confidential until the sale is complete.
Parsons said the EDA had a buyer lined up for the former Stokes Mart on Main and nearby apartments on Main Street but the sale fell through. He added that those properties would be sold immediately “if I had a magic wand” because they “are properties that the EDA has no business owning, in my opinion.”
He added that “it’s not a desperate fire sale for all of our properties.”
For example, Parsons said a potential buyer is in the EDA’s warehouse at 426 Baugh Drive, which he said is “exactly the kind of property that the EDA should own.”
EDA chairman Ed Daley said it is important for the authority to find a buyer for the warehouse that will provide jobs and increase the tax base.
The committee also broached several topics regarding the EDA’s future, including whether the authority should be dissolved, if it should become a county department, and if the town should help provide operating funds.