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ORDA operating loss swells despite revenue gains

January 3, 2014
By CHRIS KNIGHT ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The state Olympic Regional Development Authority collected nearly $1 million more in revenue than the previous year, but the authority's operating loss has ballooned by $3 million since it took over a ski center in the Catskills.

As of Nov. 1, ORDA's year-to-date operating revenues are $901,000 higher than the same period in 2012, according to a financial report presented to the ORDA board in early December. Whiteface is up $376,000, Gore is up $218,000, and Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, which ORDA didn't run for most of last year, provided $164,000 more in revenue. The Lake Placid Conference Center was also up $57,000.

"Much of the mountains' success is attributable to the extended ski season into April and an increased focus on summer operations this year," ORDA Director of Finance Padraig Power told the board.

However, the authority's labor-related expenses have increased $2.7 million, most of which is tied to the addition of Belleayre's $1.7 million payroll. The other $1 million includes an unbudgeted, retroactive $500,000 payment made in July as part of the authority's new contract with the union representing most of its workers, and an increase in employee hours for the extended winter into April. ORDA is also seeing increased health insurance and worker compensation costs, the report says.

Non-labor-related expenses are $837,000 higher than at the same point last year. That includes $367,000 attributable to Belleayre. The rest, $470,000, was blamed on utility and fuel expenses for the longer ski season, and infrastructure and computer system updates for this fall's implementation of a venue-wide ticketing system.

As of Nov. 1, ORDA experienced a $10.1 million operating loss, compared to a $7.2 million operating loss through the same period in 2012, an increase of $2.9 million.

"$1.9 million of this loss is directly related to the addition of Belleayre to the ORDA financials as ORDA continues to work on updating the venue and monitoring expenses," Power said.

The loss doesn't take into account the state and town of North Elba appropriations the authority receives, which total $4.9 million.



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