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HIGHFILL -- Regional airport directors tied up several loose ends Wednesday before declaring 2017 a success and adjourning for the year.

"As a team, I think we've delivered a spectacular 2017 to the Northwest Arkansas region and the state of Arkansas," outgoing Chairman Mike Johnson told staff and administrators. "From all of us on the board we really appreciate what you all do every hour of every day of the year. So, thank you, be very safe and we'll see everybody in 2018."

Board members approved the 2018 budget, new rates and charges for airlines, a contract to significantly renovate the main terminal and a contract for executive search and leadership assessment services to replace several top administrators.

The budget foresees an estimated $29.1 million in expenses and $28.6 million in revenue. That compares with $19 million in expenses in this year's budget and $24.6 million in revenue.

The 2018 budget allows for $7 million for operations; $5.2 million for debt service; and $16.8 million in capital expenses. Revenue includes $18.4 million in operations; $10 million in capital and $118,000 in interest.

Capital projects include finishing the parking deck, additional ground-level parking and substantial renovation of the terminal and terminal infrastructure.

The board approved a $1.9 million contract with Flynco Construction Co. to renovate the central area of the terminal and add two gates. The work includes 2,600 square feet on the second floor on the west side of the terminal. Restrooms and other building systems are included in the project.

The board voted to hire Russell Reynolds Associates to find the next airport leadership, particularly an executive director. It will also look at how duties will be divvied among top management. The contract, which is still being developed, is initially for about $200,000.

Board member Phil Phillips asked in a committee meeting if that cost was reasonable and typical for such a search.

"It doesn't startle me," board member Mike Green responded.

Scott Van Laningham and Chief Financial Officer Terry Franklin are nearing retirement. Van Laningham expects to retire late next year.

After an executive director, the board will probably look at hiring a chief operations officer and possibly a chief business development officer. The regional airport has 47 employees.

NW News on 12/14/2017

Print Headline: XNA closes year with new budget, more construction planned

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