At its March monthly meeting, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commission unanimously approved Resolution 11-09, which established an operating budget of $71,661,262 for the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May – Lewes Ferry, Food Services, Three Forts Ferry Crossing, Police and Administration. The Commissioners also authorized a budget of $6,155,407 to operate the Authority’s five regional airports in New Jersey and Delaware and $1,132,400 for other facilities operated by the agency. The Authority’s 2011 Operating Budget total of $78.9 million represents a zero percent increase compared to last year’s spending plan.
According to the Authority’s Chief Financial Officer Victor Ferzetti, the agency’s main focus is controlling costs while continuing to deliver high quality services to our customers. “The operating budget maintains fiscal discipline while providing for the essential operation of our transportation facilities during these challenging economic times,” Ferzetti said. “The agency has been aggressively working to control costs for quite some time and will continue to do so.”
Ferzetti noted that the budget eliminates sixteen (16) vacant positions. Since 2002, the Authority has reduced its workforce through attrition and not funding vacant positions by more than 25%, or 156 positions. For the 2011 budget year, the Authority has authorized a total of 418 permanent full-time positions.
For 2011, total wages for the DRBA is approximately $27,993,000, an overall reduction of more than $700,000 compared to the 2010 budget figure. The DRBA estimates it will pay $2.9 for vessel fuel in 2011, an increase of 9% compared to 2010. The agency also anticipates that two Cape May – Lewes Ferry vessels will be dry-docked, up from one vessel in 2010, which will increase that budget line by $225,000.
The Authority also funded an additional 10% of its OPEB liability, or $1.34 million, compared to the 2010 spending plan. In 2011, the DRBA has budgeted $6.24 million, which represents 70% of the OPEB liability that will be funded over a seven year period. “The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standard addresses how state and local governments should account for and report their costs and obligations related to post employment healthcare and other non-pension benefits, commonly referred to as OPEB,” Ferzetti said. “While this GASB accounting rule does not require the funding of these future liabilities, the DRBA has developed a proactive and prudent financial plan to account for and fund our future obligations.”
In 2011, the DRBA is expected to generate about $100 million, excluding its Airport operations and Economic Development facilities, and will make debt service payments of approximately $22 million. More than 75 percent of the Authority’s revenues are derived from tolls paid at the Delaware Memorial Bridge.