The Development Authority of the North Country, (DANC) was recently presented their audited financial
statements for the 2007-2008 year. Highlights are presented below from the auditor’s presentation to the DANC board of directors .
The auditor’s presentation included the Authority’s financial operating statement. The Authority had a net gain in income of $9.5 million, which is greater than 40% of their revenue, which by any measure of the public sector is very healthy and almost unheard of in private sector.
The auditor reports that DANC is operating with a “very healthy surplus”
The Authority has relatively low debt service according to the auditor
DANC has several lines of services, housing, water, sewer, landfill, and fiber optics. The landfill alone represents a large portion of the Authority’s total bottom line, with a profit of $4.5 million that represents nearly half of all their net income.
DANC is requesting their partners consisting of Lewis, St. Lawrence and Jefferson County as well as the City of Watertown to approve flow control legislation that restricts a hauler from transporting waste outside the region to another landfill. Flow control is a monopoly style of managing the landfill, versus free market enterprise, flow control forces haulers to use DANC, when DANC should be attracting haulers based on competitive tipping fees.
With a $4.5 million dollar profit at the landfill and low debt service for the entire Authority operation, it would be prudent for local governments to reject DANC’s request for flow control and press DANC to remain competitive in the market place, which will ultimately benefit the end user of the landfill, the consumer.
DANC wants to pay cash for their landfill expansion, which means current users are paying excessive tipping fees and paying for future user’s services when such an expansion that is estimated to last 50 years should be bonded. Paying cash would eliminate the public’s participation in the process by bypassing local governments where their voices can be heard, just what DANC desires. Instead of stockpiling large profits and paying cash for something they should bond for, DANC could benefit current users by a rate reduction and profits that are more modest.
The increase population and economic activity in the North Country with the expansion of Fort Drum will result in an ample supply of waste. Monopoly is a board game, not a way for a public authority to operate.