- Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
Media Contact for Audit Finds Improvements at Southfield Redevelopment Authority, Though Concerns Remain
Mike Wessler, Communications Director
Boston — An audit of the Southfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA), released today by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found improvements at the organization since it was last audited in 2013, but cautioned that some barriers to its success remain.
The 2013 audit of SRA (then known as South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation--SSTTDC) found it did not have plans in place to support critical aspects of the redevelopment of the South Weymouth naval air station, and found deficiencies related to oversight of operations and contracted services. In response to the audit, the legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation that reconstituted the organization as the SRA, reconfigured its board of directors, granted towns greater control over the project, and shifted financial obligations for development of the East-West Parkway and water and wastewater development to the master developer. The audit released today determined that these issues were resolved.
However, today’s audit found issues remain that could jeopardize SRA’s success. The audit notes that requirements in its agreement with the master developer will reduce SRA’s cash reserves to a level that could leave it vulnerable in the event that its relationship with the developer ends. Bump also points out that SRA does not have plans in place to pay for some potential financial obligations to the Commonwealth and Navy in the event these payments become due immediately.
“The redevelopment of the South Weymouth naval air station is on a more solid foundation than at any time in the past,” Bump noted. “The Southfield Redevelopment Authority should be commended for taking steps to address some of the significant challenges pointed out by my 2013 audit, however additional steps still must be taken. This project presents immense opportunity for economic and community development, and I encourage the board to address the outstanding issues to ensure this opportunity is not lost.”
In the audit, Bump calls on the SRA to develop plans immediately to ensure it can fund its liabilities and meet its cash flow needs.
Additionally, the audit noted that reductions in staff, and the failure to hire a CEO for more than three years, hindered SRA’s ability to ensure proper administration of the project. In response to this issue, the SRA hired an executive director in February 2018.
The Southfield Redevelopment Authority was established on August 14, 1998 for the purposes of acquiring the land and managing the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth naval air station (NAS). NAS was located on approximately 1,400 acres in the towns of Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth. SRA was tasked with redeveloping this land for nonmilitary purposes, including commercial, housing, industrial, conservation, and manufacturing. With the master developer, LStar, SRA is developing the property into a community to be named Union Point. Upon completion of the project, or repayment or transfer of outstanding debt, SRA will cease to exist.
Aerial photo of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station by Kevin Rutherford.