Connellsville Airport No Longer A 'Sinking Ship,' Authority Says
December 19, 2013
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  • Fayette County Airport Authority members adopted a 2014 budget on Tuesday night that includes a slight surplus amid claims that the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport is no longer a “sinking ship.”

    “We’re in far better financial shape than we were a year ago. We’ve definitely made some progress,” said authority member Jesse Wallace whose term will expire at the end of the year.

    “We’re slowly getting back on our feet,” Wallace added. “We now have better accountability with money coming and leaving the airport.”

    Board member Bill Gerke, who was appointed to replace former authority member Fred Davis, said the authority couldn’t afford to pay its operating expenses and bills last year.

    “Today, the airport is not a sinking ship,” Gerke said.

    Airport manager John “Buddy” Neckeraurer said the airport still owes about $27,000 to Purvis, the airport’s fuel supplier.

    Cathy Malago, the authority’s administrative assistant who resigned from her position at the meeting, said the authority will be in a position to pay off the $27,000 debt at the beginning of the year.

    Following an executive session, the authority accepted Malago’s resignation. She declined to comment on why she resigned from her part-time position.

    The budget includes a net profit of $8,657.15. The breakdown of the $520,270 net income is as follows: $114,793, hangar rentals; $250,000, Jet A fuel sales; $100,000, Avgas fuel sales; $44,749, building and land rent; $2,364, office rent; $3,000, tower rent; and $5,000, miscellaneous sales.

    Expenses include $119,000 for payroll costs; $20,000 for professional legal and auditing services; $52,880 for utilities; $1,000 for advertising; $6,475 for airport office supplies and expenses; $1,865 for vehicle expenses; $6,667 for loan expenses for furnaces; $7,000 for fuel expenses; $3,076 for grounds repairs; $36,000 for insurance; $23,000 for facility repair and maintenance; and $3,450 in miscellaneous expenses.

    Once the budget was presented, Gerke asked whether the authority can expect to receive $114,000 in hangar rentals, which would mean no vacancies and rental at 100 percent capacity.

    “I don’t know if that figure is accurate because it’s almost impossible to have the rental at 100 percent,” Gerke said.

    Neckeraurer said the authority has its hangar rental space filled except for several of its older hangars that are available for lease.

    Authority members are continuing to work with the Federal Aviation Administration to resolve ongoing deficiencies, including hangar and land-use issues.

    If those deficiencies are not resolved in a timely manner, the authority could lose future state and federal grant funding.

    In other business, the authority agreed to give its employees a $200 end-of-the-year gift. A $100 gift will be given to an employee who have worked for six months.