The past few years, the Big Bear Airport District budget has included a large amount of money going into reserves. That’s probably going to change for fiscal year 2015-16.
The draft budget earmarks funding for several capital improvement projects including rehabilitation of several executive hangars, engineering for solar energy and fuel farm projects, and design and engineering for potential new large hangars. The total draft CIP budget comes to an estimated $677,000.
Engineering for the solar energy project is estimated to cost $85,000. Hangar rehabilitation comes in at $100,000 and fuel farm design, permitting, materials testing and start up is estimated to cost $150,000.
The Big Bear Airport District board of directors has worked the past several weeks to come up with a plan that is in the process of being fine tuned. Total revenue for fiscal year 2016 is projected to be about $2.7 million. About 44 percent, or $1.2 million comes from property tax revenue. Another 30 percent is estimated from aircraft fuel sales and another 15.8 percent from hangar rentals.
Expenses for the upcoming fiscal year are estimated at $2.68 million with 26 percent coming from the purchase of aircraft fuel for sale, 11.9 percent in employee salaries, less than 5 percent for employee benefits, and 30.2 percent in capital and airport improvement projects.
“We’ve talked in general terms about having the budget ready in either May or June, but most likely it will be in June,” said Gary Steube, chair of the finance committee. “The big difference in this budget is our capital expenditures. But I consider that to be an investment not an expense.”
Board member Joseph Kelly, who as the newest member of the board is experiencing his first budget planning, agrees. “The increased capital improvements next year will be reflected in the district’s capital asset standing,” Kelly said. “Those expenditures will stay around a long time
One of the more expensive projects is replacing flooring in the executive hangars. The asphalt is degrading and in need of replacing, Steube said. “We have to pour new floors in five hangars,” he said.
One improvement project that Kelly is advocating is the proposal to convert an office into a community room. “If one of the vacant offices is upgraded for public assembly, that room could also be used as a new board meeting room,” Kelly said. Kelly feels the current board room is too small and could be used to rent out to an outside business entity. “I can’t even see the display screen from my seat,” Kelly said.
Steube said after much discussion, the community room project was left on the Phase I calendar.
In the past, the airport district’s capital improvement project list has been used as a guideline to identify potential projects. The document is fluid as projects are often moved to a later phase on the calendar based on priority.
For more information on the Big Bear City Airport and Big Bear Airport District, visit www.bigbearcityairport.com.