By Sheila Gardner
Douglas County commissioners are to consider Thursday a five-year contract with ABS Aviation Management Services to run Minden-Tahoe Airport that officials say will save $240,000 over the life of the agreement.
County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said the contract would cost $412,000 the first year with a 3 percent annual increase the next four years.
“The Minden-Tahoe Airport is the only financially self-sufficient general aviation airport in Nevada,” Mokrohisky said Monday. “That means no general tax dollars subsidize the airport operations. It’s fully funded by fees collected by airport businesses and users.”
He said airport manager Bobbi Thompson and her staff had support of the airport businesses and users.
“The feedback from the airport tenants, business and public has been overwhelmingly positive,” Mokrohisky said. “I have a stack of support letters from airport businesses, visitors authorities and other airport stakeholders as well as the general public.”
Thompson took over management of the airport in May 2010.
The county had a six-month contract with ABS Aviation that was extended in October and December 2010, and implemented a two-year contract in January 2011 which expires next month.
He said Thompson’s team brings more than 100 years of experience in aviation management, general aviation, fixed based operators management and high recommendations from other airports.
Since ABS Aviation has been in charge, Mokrohisky said the federal government released $1.3 million in pavement maintenance funds, the first federal funding since 2010; the relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration has been restored; there’s a 20 percent increase in based aircraft and a 13 percent increase in soaring activity.
Mokrohisky said he recommended a five-year contract to stabilize expenses and have certainty in planning labor costs.
The contract includes a 90-day termination without cause agreement for both sides.
Mokrohisky said he’d been contacted by South Lake Tahoe officials about the Douglas process of privatizing the airport.
“My view is that wholesale privatization of the government doesn’t work,” he said. “Certain target situations can be extremely effective. The airport is one of them. It provides superior quality service and significantly lower cost.”