HIGHFILL -- Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport officials will take up their 2019 budget next week after Finance Committee members agreed Wednesday to forward a draft of the document.
The proposed budget reflects about $44 million in expenses and about $42.2 million in revenue.
The revenue side isn't completely settled because new, higher airline rates and charges for next year haven't been determined yet. For budgeting purposes, the numbers from 2018 were plugged in.
The finalized 2019 airline rates and charges will be added to the proposal before the full board takes it up next week. Staff members are awaiting feedback from the airlines on their latest proposal.
The budget proposes nine new positions, including a special systems analyst, a chief financial officer and a chief business development officer, a new position in administration. Other new hires are expected to include an HVAC technician and a groundskeeper in the maintenance division and a communication operator, two security officers and a police chief in public safety.
Operations expenses are expected to increase from $7.2 million to $8.6 million next year. Debt service is expected to remain basically flat at $5.2 million. Capital expenses are expected to increase from $11.4 million to $30.1 million as several projects get underway, including a major terminal renovation in the design phase. Officials also continue to look at an access road to the airport from Arkansas 612 near the interchange with Arkansas 112.
Operational revenue is expected to increase from $18.8 million in 2018 to about $19 million next year. Capital revenue, such as grants, is expected to increase from just over $1 million in 2018 to $22.5 million for 2019. Federal grants for the terminal renovation are expected.
Board member Mike Johnson said the airport needs to be protected from encroaching development, which has forced some airports to close in the past.
"Historically we've had $500,000 as a plug number and we've acquired parcels as they've become available. There are some parcels that are available now and, of course, we know that there is a future runway on the plans to the east of us," Aaron Burkes, the new executive director, told board members. " I think we're looking at opportunistically picking up parcels as they become available."
Burkes said land for an extension of the exiting runway will be needed and perhaps land for a freight operation development west of the airport.
"I don't think we'd ever regret acquiring land adjacent to the airport," Burkes said.
In other action:
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport’s Finance Committee recommended extending an agreement with Lamar Advertising for services in the terminal. The three-year option calls for Lamar to pay the airport authority a minimum of $415,000 the first year, $420,000 the second year and $425,000 the third year. In addition, Lamar has agreed to invest an additional minimum $30,000 in capital expenditures in the advertising program.
Source: Staff report
NW News on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: Airport mulls $44 million budget