NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 27, 2014

COW seeks NRA records

NRA chairman: 'Our finances are absolutely transparent'

(Continued)

NRA officials say they will comply with COW’s request.

Salemi said NRA lawyer Carol Powers spoke with Caruso and she is getting him the requested information. He said Powers will also contact the city’s Planning Department so they can begin making copies of NRA minutes.The NRA is a volunteer board with no full-time staff.

“Our attorney will send (Caruso) the audited financial statement once it’s done,” Salemi said, adding that the board works “to comply as quickly as we can” to requests for public documents.

The chairman said that over the past year, “We’ve moved all NRA materials and files to the Planning and Development office at City Hall so they are available to public view.”

Elizabeth Heath, president of COW, said the organization has asked for documents in the past but without success.

“We’re looking for the income and expenditures,” Heath said. “These are public documents and they should be available for public review.”

Last week, Salemi responded to this newspaper’s request for financial figures over the last three years, saying “our finances are absolutely transparent.”

Revenue (mostly from parking) was as follows: 2011, $48,347; 2012, $105,500 (does not include reimbursement from MassDevelopment for environmental work done years earlier); 2013, $77,359.

(Revenue figures in this story differ because the city-supplied figure was for fiscal 2013, and the NRA figure is for calendar 2013).

Expenses include the following:

Barry Abramson, a consultant: 2011, $24,900; 2012, $40,300; 2013, $29,800.

Union Studio, design firm (most Union fees were paid by MassDevelopment, per an agreement): 2011, 0; 2012, $990; 2013, $1,200;

GZA engineering firm (borings): 2013, $41,500 (He said NRA will be reimbursed about $16,000).

City of Newburyport: $25,000 to help pay for bulkhead.

MassDevelopment: 2011, 0; 2012, $12,500 (represents buy-in; city also paid $12,500); 2013, 0.

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