JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County Industrial Development Agency Director James Mraz complained to his Board of Supervisors' oversight committee Tuesday about a recently-issued state Authorities Budget Office report on the IDA.
Mraz said the ABO report "grossly misleads" the reader in several areas.
Inaccuracies in the report, he told the Economic Development Committee at the County Office Building, are in four main areas. They include: projects were granted 20 years of exemptions, the IDA is not provided marketing reports by the Fulton County Economic Development Corp., the IDA and the city of Johnstown were underpaid from lot sales at the Johnstown Industrial Park, and the IDA has overpaid EDC in marketing fees.
Mraz said his own IDA board of director agreed with him on how the final report came out.
"IDA board members certainly weren't happy with how the final report was portrayed," he said.
ABO Director David Kidera said Friday there were ample opportunities for the IDA to discuss inaccuracies with his staff before the final report was issued. After talking to his staff, he said, he didn't think the Fulton County IDA had "any strong objections" to it.
"In some cases, they clarify something they said," Kidera said. "We try to incorporate as many changes as we can."
The ABO issued the report on Jan. 26, and the Economic Development Committee accepted the document Tuesday.
Mraz said the report didn't take into account "all the good things" the IDA has done in the past 25 years. The ABO issued the report after initially meeting with IDA staff last summer.
The state report was issued in the context of last spring's revelation of large bonuses given to two, now-fired EDC and Crossroads Incubator Corp. executives awarded without their respective boards' approvals.
Mraz said when he tried to fix inaccuracies in the draft report with ABO staff, it was ignored. He said the ABO had an unwillingness to correct "factual errors" before it became a final report.
He said the IDA didn't acknowledge the job creation figures that prior to the late 2000s national recession were "positive" in Fulton County. He said prior to the recession, the number of jobs in the county more than doubled from 1,200 in the 1980s to over 2,500 at a high point.
"They came in and said the [IDA] model has diminished," Mraz told supervisors.
Among the "problems" Mraz said the IDA had with the final report were not acknowledging or identifying compliance officers who prepared the report. He also noted the final report didn't include 21 pages of comments submitted by the IDA and three pages of comments submitted by the county to the ABO.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org