Owners of Cincinnati Jet Center, the fixed base operation at the Butler County Regional Airport, say concessions were made in a new five-year contract to help meet the county’s goal of making the facility self sustaining.
Ian Roberts, co-owner of Cincinnati Jet, signed the new deal two weeks ago and commissioners made it legal Monday. The amended contract includes a $3,105 rent increase with an automatic 2 percent — or equal to the consumer price index whichever is higher — increase, bringing the total up to $33,407. The fuel fees paid to the county will go from 8 cents to 12 cents, with two, 2-cent hikes in subsequent years.
The new airport study suggested the county could also impose a one percent gross receipts tax. Administrator Charlie Young said they still plan to study that revenue stream, but it would not involve the fixed base operation (FBO).
“If we did so it would really be up to each business to report to us, it’s not one of the things the FBO would be collecting for us,” he said. “It’s not off the table at all, it’s just not properly a part of this agreement with the FBO.”
The contract also calls for Cincinnati Jet to implement a business plan that includes “viable plans for the FBO’s future operation, growth and expansion” for the airport. The commissioners have long lamented the airport is not self sustaining.
“Overall the broad view of the negotiation was that they were happy with the services we provided and they shared with us the financial shortcomings,” Roberts said. “We just put our heads together and said what can we do in our capacity to alleviate that burden to them. In turn they agreed to let us be the face of the airport.”
According to the study the county commissioned, it cost $257,133 to run the airport last year, and revenues from the leases, gas and other sources came in at $259,843. This year revenues are only expected to top expenses by $9,277 and that does not include the $154,912 debt service payment.
Commission President Don Dixon, who has been the harshest critic on airport finances, said the new deal is tremendous.
“When you look at the overall contract there are significant changes from the county’s perspective,” he said. “One of them was a lot of our costs were fixed, like the fuel costs were fixed, we made 8 cents a gallon. That stayed constant and now that steadily moves up. That’s our largest revenue producer at the airport…”