From The Daily News, McKeesport PA - 2005 June 7:
Revenue up for RAD in first quarter By Patrick Cloonan

Includes discussion regarding continuing deficits of Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, in second-to-last paragraph. Allegheny Regional Asset District received $37.7 million in state sales tax revenue in the first half of 2005, $1.3 million more than a year ago.

"Revenue for the first six months of the year shows growth over 2004," the district's allocations committee reported at Monday's RAD board meeting in Pittsburgh. "We hope that this trend continues since it will take pressure off our reserve and allow the district to sustain operating support (for more than 80 regional entities)."

However, RAD treasurer Joyce A. Baskins said, "Revenues in the second quarter were essentially the same as the second quarter of last year."

Still, a saving grace has been in RAD's savings account, which netted $203,000 in interest earnings.

"With the help of about $2 million in reserve," Baskins said, "(RAD) should meet its 2005 revenue targets and be able (to) fulfill its current obligations."

The mid-term examination of RAD funds is required under the district's agreements with contractual or long-term assets, including McKeesport's Renziehausen Park.

While RAD members are satisfied that funds are available for operations of the parks, libraries, museums and other entities RAD supports, current and would-be recipients are being advised not to expect extra funds for capital improvements.

"Capital grants would continue to the contractual regional parks," the allocations committee said in a report read by RAD board member Gerald Voros. "As RAD operating grants are unrestricted, applicants are free to use operating support for capital repairs and new equipment."

In addition to Renzie, RAD backed regional parks include Allegheny County parks (such as North, South, Boyce, White Oak and Round Hill) and Citiparks in Pittsburgh (including McBride in Lincoln Place).

Speaking on behalf of fellow committee members Baskins and Rick Pierchalski, Voros reported that applicants will be evaluated in four areas: management capacity, financial stewardship, programming and diversity.

"We have added a series of questions to determine applicant involvement and/or interest in the shared resources agenda," Voros said. "It is clear that cooperative ventures will be needed for valuable programming to thrive."

Recipients also must provide information that shows, for instance, "whether deficits are the result of operating performance or the result of accounting rules for multi-year grants."

As Voros pointed out, some assets, such as Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, regularly report deficits.

Prospective recipients are being asked to attend a seminar June 23 at 3 p.m. at Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Ave., downtown Pittsburgh. RAD Executive Director David Donahoe said it would be an opportunity to provide technical assistance and guidance in meeting new diversity requirements.

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