GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Among the budget dilemmas as Glenwood Springs City Council gets ready to dig into the proposed 2014 city budget is a projected $36,000 shortfall in the municipal airport enterprise fund.
On the plus side, airplane fuel sales are expected to come out ahead of budget this year, and general activity at the self-supporting facility appears to be up, based on casual observations by airport users.
But there are enough unknowns heading into next year, including inconsistent leasing of space within the airport enterprise zone, that city officials are starting to take a look at new ways to maximize airport revenues.
“The caveat is always fuel sales,” Mayor Leo McKinney observed during a recent council work session with the city’s airport advisory board.
“Whatever the real numbers end up being, it does look like we are going to have a negative fund balance next year,” McKinney said. “If that’s the case, we need to figure that out.”
Fuel sales, which account for the biggest portion of the airport’s estimated $133,500 in annual revenues, are budgeted at $92,500 for this year.
Sales did come in at nearly $102,000 by year’s end in 2012, according to figures included in Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel’s proposed 2014 budget.
Regardless, his budget recommendation for next year sticks with the more conservative revenue figure of $92,500.
Overall, airport revenues came in at $138,188 in 2012, but are projected at $133,605 for both 2013 and 2014.
Airport expenses, on the other hand, including administration and operation, were held to $137,295 in 2012. Hecksel recommends an expense budget next year of $169,664 based on anticipated cost increases. That leaves a potential $36,000 shortfall, though.
“That’s why we have been trying to cut costs, so that we don’t end up in that situation,” airport board member and pilot Gregg Rippy said of the project shortfall during the recent work session.
“It may be that we need to change the model to continue that,” Rippy said.
Previously, the city contracted with a fixed-base operator to run the airport. That may be something the city would want to consider doing again, Rippy suggested.
Councilman Todd Leahy said the airport enterprise zone may be under-utilized in terms of leasing potential as well.
“The city is using a lot of that space, but that’s not paying for airport operations,” Leahy said. “Those are the discussions we need to think about.”
Land leases at the airport, while budgeted to bring in $24,900 this year and again in 2014, only resulted in $10,500 in revenues in 2012, according to the city’s budget figures.
The airport budget will be among several topics of discussion as City Council begins a series of budget work sessions at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
The city is also looking at a $1 million shortfall for proposed general fund expenditures, compared to revenue projections for the coming year. The city proposes an $11.8 million general fund spending budget for 2014.