General Local News Opinion

Response From Economic Development Series: Financial Statements Relative To Parish Development District

Upon printing last Wednesday, CW received via e-mail a public document filed with the Baton Rouge office of the Legislative Auditor and released June 26, 2013. It is titled “St. Tammany Parish Development District Financial Statements as of December 31, 2012 and 2011 and for the Years Then Ended and Independent Auditor’s Report”. The document was sent with the following excerpt: “All of the expenses paid from the funds maintained are reported here as governmental activities and consist primarily of insurance, accounting fees, and support payments to the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (STEDF) which is the management arm for the District. A percentage of the state hotel and motel tax collections finance the operating activities of the District.”

I presented this material to Don Shea, Director of Economic Development, St. Tammany Parish, and Trilby L’enfant, Director, St. Tammany Parish Intergovernmental Relations. Both requested a copy of the document, which I sent out this week. I have not received a response from the parish as of this writing.

“Management’s Discussion and Analysis For Year Ended December 31, 2012” describes capital assets: “Capital assets currently held by the District will revert to a private company at the time the company pays off a taxable revenue bond issued by the District. The capital assets consist of land, land improvements, and equipment paid for with bond proceeds received by the District. The term of the revenue bond which includes capital assets is twenty years. The land improvements and equipment are being depreciated over a period of ten years. No depreciation is taken on the land.” View the full document here.

Revenue bonds differ from general obligation bonds in the method of repayment. General obligation bonds rely on taxation, and revenue bonds are guaranteed by the specific revenues generated by the issuer. Common issuers of revenue bonds include Transportation systems, Hospitals, Power systems, Sewer systems, Water systems and other local authorities which generate revenues from providing services to the public. By contrast, the most common issuers of general obligation bonds are States, Cities and towns, and School Districts. Visit www.municipalbonds.com for more information on bonds.

The St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, a politically unaffiliated non profit corporation, states on their website: “The St. Tammany Parish Development District (District) is a political subdivision of the state created by the Legislature to foster business development through the issuance of bonds and by taking other steps necessary to advance sustainable commerce”.

For more information or to contact the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, visit www.stedf.org and the Parish Government site, www.stpgov.org.

Article by Timothy Gates, assisting publisher. Contact covweekly@media9productions.com for more info.