Saturday, January 28, 2012

Airport authority adopts budget

REYNOLDSVILLE - Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority adopted its 2012 budget at yesterday's business meeting.

The spending plan is balanced with both income and operating costs projected at $688,126.60.

Revenue includes allocations of $90,000 from the Clearfield County Commissioners and $88,750 from Jefferson County and $178,750 from the sale of two parcels of land in the authority's air commerce park.

Voting to adopt the budget were Jeff Bellmore, Loren Bishop, Jay Chamberlin, Gene Mineweaser, David Stern and Rick Wise. Members Todd Arnold and Joe Barber were absent.

Prior to the vote, Chamberlin, the authority's treasurer, noted the executive committee had spent a great deal of time refining the budget noting the document presented for the authority's consideration was its fourth draft. "I think this one is a good budget for us," he stated.

Ed Nasuti of Lee Simpson and Associates Inc., DuBois, the authority's engineer, presented a six-year plan for the airport's capital improvements projects. The scope was recently reviewed with the Federal Aviation Administration. Bob Shaffer, manager at the DuBois Regional Airport, said FAA requests an annual examination of projects the authority expects to fund using its annual federal entitlement stipend of $150,000. The authority receives $150,000 because the annual number of passengers who fly out of DuBois Regional Airport using commercial air service is less than 10,000. If the airport had more than that number it would receive $1 million in entitlement funds.

Shaffer said if the authority fails to spend its allotment, without prior permission from FAA, it would lose that money and the money would become part of FAA's discretionary funds and likely be given to another airport's project.

This year the authority expects to upgrade the DuBois Regional Airport's water treatment plant at an expected cost of $75,000 and replace perimeter fencing and gates at a cost of $50,000. Next year, rehabilitation of its T-hangar and taxiway and the acquisition of a security vehicle at a total cost of $208,000 are the projects planned. In 2014, the authority suggests installation of a visual lighting system for one of its runways and directional signs that would be used by pilots at a cost of $158,000. An upgrade of runway lighting enhanced by purchasing an emergency generator at a cost of $158,000 is planned for 2015 and rehabilitation of the parallel taxiway on runway No. 7 at a cost of $450,000 is intended for 2016. A snow blower purchase is on tap for 2017 at a cost of $300,000.

Nasuti said if the projects do not change, the authority would be requesting discretionary funds from FAA in both 2016 and 2017 to help pay for the improvements.

In other business, the authority:
• approved the purchase of fire damage coverage from Matson Insurance Co., Brookville. The annual policy provided through Travelers Insurance costs $20,206 - $500 less than what was paid in 2011.
• heard Shaffer report work would soon begin to assist Sandy Township supervisors with implementing airport hazard zoning for a small parcel of property located in the township bordering the airport.

State law requires municipalities whose lands are adjacent to airports to amend their zoning designations to establish an airport hazard area. Earlier this year, Washington Township in Jefferson County implemented ordinances to establish the distance and height for any development on properties surrounding the airport's land and its navigable airspace.

Both Washington and Sandy townships received $3,000 grants from the state Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aviation to help defray the costs of engineering, legal work and advertising.

The authority's next business meeting is Feb. 24 at 8:30 a.m. at the DuBois Regional Airport conference room.

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