City Manager Josh Shaw told Augusta Progress Inc. Board Members this week the city's municipal airport is closer to breaking even than most people realize.
City Manager Josh Shaw told Augusta Progress Inc. Board Members this week the city’s municipal airport is closer to breaking even than most people realize.
He also outlined a couple of plans that could lead to the airport becoming a profitable asset for the community.
He said the airport would have been in the black without employee benefit payments last year. With those payments, the airport books show a loss of about $40,000 but that doesn’t include any of the property or sales tax receipts the facility creates.
Shaw asked the API Board to consider a couple of options to add another profitable piece to the airport. He said fuel sales at the airport currently bring in more than $20,000 in profit each year. He said the city would get better wholesale prices than the current retailer can and that would make the venture even more profitable for the city.
The council approved a budget with a provision to re-acquire the fuel depot at the airport and bring it back under the city’s control. He told the board that the city would like to partner with API on the purchase.
The city could take a loan from API and repay the funds, or the city could pay the $66,000 price tag with the funds that are currently in the city’s economic development fund.
Shaw said the city currently puts $20,000 per year into that fund and that could be maintained or the council might agree to increase that amount to speed the replenishment of those funds if they chose to use that method to pay for the purchase.
Dave Bisagno said he thought the better solution was for API to request the economic development funds for the city’s use instead of writing a check from API’s account to cover it.
The only concern from board members was to make sure the fund is replenished as quickly as possible so that funds are available if an opportunity arises to use the funds to grow the city’s economy.
Shaw said he would take that recommendation to the council for further consideration.
He also told the board that the airport now has more than 90 aircraft that officially call Augusta home with a waiting list of about 20 more. That has caught the attention of the FAA and two major runway plans are moving up the priority list.
Shaw said Augusta’s airport was now among the top general aviation airports in Kansas.