Stadium Authority cuts budget

Daily Record Business Writer
September 2, 2009 12:11 AM

The Maryland Stadium Authority voted to cut its 2011 budget by $10 million Tuesday in an effort to curb spending and minimize the state’s funding of the agency.

“We took our expenses back to 2009 levels and what we actually spent this [fiscal] year,” said Chairman John Morton III after the meeting at the Camden Yards warehouse. “We felt it was important that we ran with the same expense load and even more important that we don’t ask the state for any additional funding than we needed.”

To afford the cut to $75.4 million, an 11.2 percent decrease from the stadium authority’s projected budget this year of $85.4 million, the board approved cutting the position of general counsel from the payroll, limiting staff expenses and will likely have to limit the number of feasibility studies it approves during the 2011 fiscal year.

The fiscal year for stadium authority, the governing body for the state’s sports and entertainment facilities, runs from July 1 to June 30.

The position of general counsel was last filled by Alison Asti, who also served as the executive director for her last two years before being asked to leave both positions in September of 2007.

Although David Raith, the chief financial officer for the stadium authority, would not say how much the position cut would save the agency, The Daily Record reported in 2007 that Asti earned more than $225,000 a year for her roles. Had she stayed on as general counsel and director of development after being fired as executive director, her contract would have guaranteed her $200,000 a year.

Since Asti’s departure both the general counsel and director of development positions have been left vacant. Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Hahn serves as “principal counsel” for the board.

Morton said the board spent more than an hour before the open meeting Tuesday reviewing the budget line by line to look for cuts.

“We feel we’re doing our part in recognition of the stresses on local economies and citizens,” he said.

The stadium authority also reported Tuesday that it fell short in fiscal 2009 of meeting its minority business enterprise requirement. The state’s MBE program establishes a goal that at least 25 percent of the total dollar value of each agency’s procurement contracts be awarded to certified, minority-owned businesses, including 7 percent to African-American-owned businesses and 10 percent to woman-owned businesses.

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