Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority sees improved finances in 2020 audit

Shawn Curtis, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 16—EBENSBURG — Trail memberships and other revenue sources gave the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority a positive financial picture in its annual audit, which was received and approved Friday.

Members of the authority's board gathered for their monthly meeting at the Young People's Community Center, some attending in person and others joining via electronic conferencing.

The end-of-2020 audit results were presented by Stephanie Stohon and Meghan Freidhof of Wessel & Company.

The audit report, which was dated on April 9, was conducted totally by remote interactions — marking the second straight year that the authority and its auditors navigated through the process electronically due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the highlights of the report:

—The authority was able to reduce its financial dependency on program-assistance revenues from Cambria County in 2020.

The $166,931 received from the county this past year contributed to 58% of the authority's revenue compared to 2019, when the same total was 73% of the authority's revenue.

"We were able to, even through the pandemic, raise enough money to put us in a good financial position," Executive Director Cliff Kitner said.

The ability by the authority to generate revenue through its Friends of the Trail memberships and memorial bench program helped turn its series of trails into an outside-of-the-box fundraiser.

A spike in trail usage while many other activities were limited or not possible during the early stages of pandemic mitigation also played a role.

"They've been very active with the trails, educating people where the trailheads were at," Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky said, "and by turn, you have people becoming Friends of the Trails and making financial contributions because they love the trails. They've been very engaged, and by doing that, they've been bringing in other revenues. It all adds up to maintain, enhance and grow the trails."

—The authority's cash and cash equivalents increased by $84,462 in 2020. The report said that the increase resulted in part from an overall increase in revenue and donations during the year.

—The authority ended the year with a net position balance of $9,177,813, with $9,001,181 representing investment in capital assets. Most of the authority's land property was donated by various government agencies and are deed-restricted for the purposes indicated in those agreements, according to the audit. The unrestricted net position amounted to $176,632.