GIBA meeting provides financials in end-of-year recap

November 13, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

STAFF REPORT- The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority’s quarterly board meeting was held on Tuesday, November 10 to discuss fiscal results and announce changes to the board. The meeting marked the end of the fiscal year with an anticipated decrease in loan debt.
Three members were administered the oath of office by GIBA attorney Robert Berntsson. Two returning board members, Drew Tucker and Robert Berntsson. Two returning board members, Drew Tucker and Ginger Watkins, and newly elected board member Jean Hoysradt were sworn in to serve four-year terms. Existing members Randy Hicks and Ronald Drake were also reappointed.
Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico announced that the southern roadway sidewalk project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
As was anticipated, the board saw a decrease in overall revenue and a minor decrease in traffic. With the closing of beaches of businesses between April and May, the Board had expected to see a two percent decrease in traffic and a five percent decrease in revenue, but some of the lost revenue was recouped by an uptick in returning visitors. The board also noted a significant increase in bridge openings as a result of an increase in boater traffic through the summer.
The board had positive feedback regarding the toll system upgrade that included an interactive feature to the toll pass account website, with more than 1,000 successful engagements. 
Drew Tucker of the finance committee reviewed the year’s finances, which showed annual revenues of $4.8 million for fiscal year 2020 and expenses of $3.1 million. All liability obligations were met on time.
After deliberation, the board voted to approve an annual eight percent discretionary retirement contribution to Valic (Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company) as a plan to benefit staff members, recommended by the Governance Committee. Not only was the motion approved, but the board also approved revision to the GIBA Personnel Handbook and Drug Free Policy. 
Final pre-payment of the principal on the Sun Trust Bank loan was approved by the board, which sets them eight years ahead of their scheduled payment. 
Before the meeting was adjourned, it was announced that Vice-Chairman Bill Klettke had submitted his resignation, as he is moving out of the GIBA district. The board stated that their colleague will be missed and wished him luck in his endeavors. The governor of Florida will fill the open voting position with an appointment.
The GIBA Board’s next quarterly meeting will be held in February, 2021.