The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport has approved a $48-million
budget for the coming fiscal year, but will need to once again dip
into its reserves to complete several pending projects.
The Airport Authority voted Monday to take $2 million from its
reserve fund to pay for three projects that risked indefinite
postponement, including the construction of a $1.4-million parking
lot. The airport will also spend $400,000 to replace the 16-year-old
chairs in the airport’s waiting areas.
“I don’t think putting off these projects for another year is the
prudent action to take,” Authority Vice President Charlie Lombardo
said following the 6-1 vote. “That’s what we have reserves for.”
The budget approved by commissioners is less than half of the
2002-2003 spending plan, which totaled $99 million. A $34-million
price tag for security enhancements prompted by the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks was the primary reason for the inflated budget,
Authority spokesman Victor Gill said.
The reserve fund, which sat at $71 million at the end of fiscal
year 2001-02, is expected to be $38 million by July 1, the start of
the next fiscal year.
That projection, however, could increase by $16 million because
the airport expects to sell Los Angeles land it owns to Voit
Development Company by June 30, Gill said.
Earlier estimates projected the airport would need to spend $4.5
million from the reserves fund, but that figure was reduced because
of increases in passenger facility fees, which went from $3 to $4.50
Meanwhile, airport officials said the Federal Aviation
Administration told them late last week that $10 million in pending
grants for noise reduction and other projects could be at risk until
the agency considers the airport’s plan to pay back up to $46 million
in past grants for a terminal it is not building.
The airport submitted a plan to the FAA May 13, proposing to apply
funds received since 1994 for security projects including housing the
Burbank and Glendale National Guard armories.
“It is highly likely that we are going to have to repay the FAA
some amount of money,” Glendale Airport Authority commissioner Gerald
Briggs said, in his opposition to spending from the reserves. “Every
dollar that we dip into our reserves is a dollar that we don’t have
for the FAA.”