TRENTON – The N.J. Economic Development Authority approved its strategic and fiscal plans for the coming year on Tuesday. The plans were unanimously accepted by board members.
Among the highlights of the fiscal plan is a continued balance of funding and spending. “(C)urrent year revenues will fund current year operational expenses and program costs,” the report states, “that is, there is no reliance on prior period earnings to fund operations.”
The agency’s fiscal plan expects to collect $28.7 million in total revenue and spend $28.1 million, most of which is attributable to personnel costs. Planned net operating earnings are projected to exceed $640,000, below 2011 expectations due to a decline in interest income. In a year-to-year comparison, operating revenue is expected to grow by 5.7 percent compared to 2011, while expenses and costs are also expected to increase by 7.7 percent.
The agency expects to end 2011 with 14 vacant positions of 161 personnel members approved last year, resulting in $1.2 million less in expenses, 7.3 percent of the allocated budget. In 2012, the EDA expects to reduce personnel by six more positions.
The development of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority has been a fiscal “wash” for the year, EDA CEO Caren Franzini said this morning, although back-office costs that the EDA is supporting will be repaid to the agency when development agreements at Fort Monmouth come to fruition.
The fiscal plan is a means to an end, which is the strategic plan. Among the benchmarks met from last year’s strategic plan was a measurable increase in economic assistance, which led to closed financing and incentives totaling over $594 million for 169 projects, expected to create over 9,500 jobs and 3,100 construction jobs. This achievement represents a total investment of $2.6 billion into the state economy, according to the agency report.
In 2012, the agency is paying close attention to a new list of priorities: maintaining a sustainable revolving loan fund; maximizing use of technology; indentifying cost savings; and refining products to better meet consumer needs.
Among the benchmarks set are a target investment of $1.25 billion in financial assistance and a goal of 5 percent reduction in agency energy costs through “green practices.”