Budget, runway extension top agenda

The Santa Maria Public Airport board of directors will consider the district’s 2011-12 budget and some runway extension contracts tonight at a meeting that was postponed from last week.  The board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Airport Administration building.

Unlike cities, counties and public schools that rely on dwindling or disappearing state funding, the airport is a special district that is doing relatively well financially despite the dire economy.  “There’s really nothing major on that,” General Manager Chris Hastert said of his district’s budget. “We’re still pretty healthy at the airport. We still have plenty of reserves.”

Like all areas of business, the depressed economy has dented the cash flow at the airport. The budget projects $3.1 million in revenues for 2011-12 and $3.7 million in expenses.  Despite the deficit, the airport’s five-year projection shows an upward trend in end-of-year cash balances.

The proposed 2011-12 budget is a bit of an anomaly because it includes more than $8.4 million in Airport Improvement Program funding for more than $10 million in capital outlays for improvements including the runway extension project.

Airport employees should enjoy this year’s budget because it includes a cost-of-living increase. The board will consider two resolutions that will provide a 3-percent increase this year based on the Consumer Price Index.  “We only have 11 employees, so it’s not too difficult to deal with employee issues,” said Hastert, who added there were no raises last year because the CPI was flat or decreased during 2009.

Hastert said airport administration will begin a marketing effort in the upcoming fiscal year promoting its business park. Two websites are proposed and the board will consider development contracts soon.

The board will also consider amending its current contracts with Tartaglia Engineering and Aecom Technical Services on the runway extension.  Tartaglia Engineering has been involved in the extension project for approximately five years. The company is requesting a shift of $20,000 in previously budgeted funds from construction management services to the project management budget.

Aecom is providing design services for the second phase of the project. The contract amendment includes redesign of power lines from the Pacific Gas and Electric source to the Federal Aviation Administration navigational aids that are being repositioned as part of the runway extension.

Posted in Local on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:00 am