Bob Hope Airport officials on Monday approved a balanced budget for next fiscal year even though revenues are projected to remain relatively flat — and they didn't have to raise airline landing fees.
In the past few years, officials have taken different measures to draw up balanced budgets. Two years ago, the authority increased landing fees by 21%, the first hike in a decade. In the current budget, which ends at the end of this month, $445,000 in cuts were made.
Revenue generated from landing fees will drop by another $50,000 in the upcoming fiscal year, bringing the projected income from the fees to $2.9 million, according to a report by airport staff.
More cuts are part of the upcoming fiscal year's budget, reducing expenditures from $108.9 million in 2013-14 to $74 million in 2014-15, but that's primarily due to the completion of the airfield's new transportation center.
The $112-million capital-improvement project, which is opening later this month, includes new spaces for car rental companies and a public transportation hub.
Commissioners praised airport staff for putting together a balanced budget despite ongoing declines in passenger counts.
"Once again, you brought in a budget without asking for increases from airlines, that's a phenomenal piece of work," said Susan Georgino, board president. "It has taken a lot of belt-tightening to continue to do this over the years with reductions in revenue and still keep a budget without going back and asking for increases… or significant increases."
Revenues for 2014-15 are estimated to be $46.9 million, up $625,000 from the current fiscal year.
Some of the new income will be generated from parking, but not from more people leaving their cars at Bob Hope Airport, said Kathy David, the airport's finance director.
Instead, the airport helped pay off litigation costs in a case against the airfield's previous owner, Lockheed Martin, by setting aside $1 from each parking transaction, a process that's no longer needed, she said.
"We have a small increase in parking revenues, which is not primarily driven from activity, but from the reallocation to the general fund of the dollars set aside to reimburse the authority for the Lockheed … litigation expenses," David said.
But the grand opening of the transportation center on June 27 does not mean new projects aren't on the horizon.
The authority has set aside $21.9 million from the newly adopted budget for five capital-improvement projects, including $6 million for a runway lighting rehabilitation effort, according to the staff report.
Remaining funds will go toward revamping a taxiway, completing an environmental-impact report for a new terminal, a continued acoustical sound-proofing effort for homes near the airport and a runway-shoulder rehabilitation project.
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