By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

MWCDC explains finances, where the money was used

 

February 6, 2018

The Shiloh Street Gateway was a project the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation received funding for in 2012, but didn't complete until 2016.

Board members of the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) provided insights into the organization's financial records and operations at a meeting last week at 608 Virginia Avenue.

Board president Michael Grande and treasurer Alaina Spanoudakis Davis distributed financial records and provided commentary on MWCDC board procedures, 2016-2017 financial audits, and 2018's financial projections.

The meeting was scheduled following several community forum discussions regarding the MWCDC's use of funds, community requests for more transparency, and a full audit of the organization's finances conducted by City of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

Five MWCDC board members were among the 14 meeting attendees.

"This is the first time we're doing this type of meeting," Ms. Spanoudakis Davis said. "We just wrapped up all of our 2017 financials and thought it would be a good time to consolidate that information and just have an opportunity for questions."


According to Ms. Spanoudakis Davis, MWCDC finances are handled by third-party accounting firm, YourCFO. Monthly meetings are held between a representative from the organization and Mr. Grande.

Tyler Collier and Associates conducts annual financial audits on behalf of the MWCDC. The results of the audits, along with the official minutes from all monthly board meetings can be downloaded at https://mwcdc.org/about/public-information/.

"If you're curious about something that's going on financially, checking the minutes is a way to stay up to date," Ms. Spanoudakis Davis said.

At each board meeting, the development committee also provides readouts of transactions and potential buyers for properties coming out of the city's land reserve.

The development committee also meets separately on the fourth Wednesday of every odd month. Those meetings are open to the public.

Copies of the 2016 audit were distributed to all in attendance. The audit noted in 2016, the MWCDC ended the year with $262,461 in assets compared to $880,254 in 2015.

According to Mr. Grande, the significant drop in assets was due to a transfer of $363,120 in park-restricted grants and funding to the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy (PPC) in an agreement to take over the maintenance of Emerald View Park.


Two full-time MWCDC employees also went to the PPC in 2016 as well.

The MWCDC receives a $100,000 annual Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) grant through the state that it is required to split 50/50 with the PPC as part of the agreement. This is the final year of the original six-year grant.

A resident in attendance asked for information about $101,255 in expenses categorized under program expenditures for "Business District Development" in 2016.

Ms. Spanoudakis Davis said that funding was used for the Shiloh Street Gateway sign. The money was received in 2012, but wasn't reconciled as an expense until 2016 because it took several years for the city to put up the sign.

The 2017 financial summary packet listed $168,585 in total income. The largest source of that income was the annual $100,000 NPP state grant, but half of that was distributed to the PPC. The second largest source of income last year was $33,822 that came from the Advisory Committee on Community-Based Organizations (ACCBO).


The MWCDC also received $14,500 from Shop N' Save, as the grocery store paid the interest on a loan it had received from the organization in 1999.

The MWCDC incurred $159,576 in expenses for a net-operating income of $9,010. This includes the $50,000 distributed to the PPC. The largest expense was $58,203 to pay personnel prior to the elimination of all staff in June.

Also included in the presentation was the official projections for 2018. The organization is expected to net another $50,000 from the NPP/SPP state grant in March and $12,500 in income from special events throughout the year.

"We always try to err on the conservative side," Ms. Spanoudakis Davis said. "We're currently working to apply for some other grants, but we don't want to put anything out [until official]."

According to Mr. Grande, the majority of this year's income will be used to hire an executive director. The position is currently posted and 2018's projections list $63,650 in personnel expenses which is to be used for salary and benefits.

The MWCDC only plans to employ one staff member in 2018, but also plans to grow the organization over time.

"For me, unless some giant project falls in our lap again, I would see over time as we build capacity maybe [adding] two or three staff members," Mr. Grande said.

The next MWCDC community forum meeting will be held February 15 at the Mount Washington Senior Center on Virginia Avenue. For more information on the MWCDC visit https://mwcdc.org.

 

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