■ BY SUE ERWIN
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority Finance/Audit Committee conducted a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the GIBA administration office.
GIBA executive staff are currently testing a new website that will allow customers to pay their bills online.
“The new site will allow people to check their balances, add money to their accounts as well as pay their bills through the site.” GIBA Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico said. “I think a lot of people are going to use it and find it very convenient.”
The new website should be available for customers over the next few weeks, and the interface of the site will change as well.
“We expect about half of our bridge pass holders will use the new site to pay their bills,” she said. “About half of the people who come in the office to add money to their accounts have expressed an interest in online access.”
Auditor Tom Cramer from the accounting firm Suplee, Shea, Cramer and Rocklein, updated Board members with results from a recent audit.
Income from operations for the Authority was $2,526,167 and $2,530,041 for the fiscal years 2019 and 2018, respectively. Income from operations for fiscal year 2019 decreased by less that one percent compared to fiscal year 2018.
“Capital assets have grown this past year from the toll booth,” Cramer said. “The report states a stable figure for the organization … it paints a very healthy picture.”
At the close of fiscal year 2019, the Authority had a net position of $24,784,610 – an increase of nine percent over fiscal year 2018.
Kathy Banson-Verrico said an estimated 1,400 drivers are using the self-scan lane at the Gasparilla Island Bridge every day, that’s up from 1,100 from this past summer.
“That’s roughly 30 percent of our visitors,” Banson-Verrico said. “It works well when people pay attention and read the signage. If someone gets stuck and wants to pay cash there is a call box to push, but usually one of the toll takers will respond right away to help.”
The fiscal year review meeting is held every January in the GIBA administrative office. Suplee, Shea, Cramer and Rocklein has been the selected audit firm since the inception of the organization.
“The Authority continues to maintain a strong cash position and will continue to focus on improvements and the prepayment of long term debt,” Banson-Verrico said.
For more information, visit giba.us.