The meeting room table was stretched to seat 18 staff and commissioners from two boards in a joint meeting of the Johnson County Airport Commission and Board of County Commissioners on Mar. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Johnson County Airport Commission (JCAC) hosted the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in a joint meeting at the administration building at One New Century Pkwy on March 28. Larry Peet, JCAC deputy director, gave an update on the storm damage repairs at Executive Airport.
Peet said building permits should be issued within the next few days and that would clear the way for contractors to begin fabricating building materials. He said they expected to be back at full occupancy in late September.
Area storms last year produced 80 mph straight line winds that caused serious damage to hangars at the Executive Airport. The airport was shut down that night for about 12 hours while runways were cleared of debris. Damage occurred to buildings, as well as the aircraft and other items stored inside.
Kevin Hiskey, CFO, presented a financial review using multi-year charts comparing actual and projected costs and revenue.
The first chart showed history of county tax support from 1997. The airport has gone from receiving more than $1M in tax support per year from 1997 to 2001 to becoming self sufficient since 2004.
Hiskey covered actual/projected costs and revenues from 2015 to 2020 for New Century airport, Executive airport, and the New Century business park. He also provided comparison figures for the rail and water services, both of which have been showing deficits year by year.
JCAC has been working on new rate and fee schedules for both services.
Water services is expected to be in deficit of a little over $200,000 in 2018. As new rates are phased in, Hiskey says water services should break even in 2019 and figures should continue to improve in following years.
Increased rail service rates are also being phased in, and a new tenant that will use rail services heavily is expected in 2019, but the chart still shows an expected deficit in 2020.
Jim Allen, BOCC commissioner, asked about the lease with tenants of the green building at 600 New Century Pkwy.
“We’ve enjoyed a multi decade relationship with, first the predecessors of Sprint, then Sprint, then Embarq and now Century Link,” said Aaron Otto, JCAC executive director.
“They have a current lease that runs through the middle of 2020, and they have another unilateral ten year plus six more after that, that could follow it. We’re in conversations with them about it, to see if there are any details or alterations they want to make when that comes up,” said Otto.
JCAC directors discussed focus areas for 2018 including completion of environmental assessment, a five year equipment procurement plan, updating financial policies per audit report and infrastructure projects.
The directors also gave an economic development update and a summary of airport/county collaboration efforts.
Mike Brown, BOCC commissioner, asked for updated status of the arrangement with Fire District 1 for Station 121 at 490 New Century Pwky.
A 20 year lease came to an end last year. FAA requirements that have changed since the original lease, now dictate that leases on airport grounds must be at market rate. FD1 was not pleased with the new terms. A new one year lease was implemented, to allow time to explore options.
FD1 would like to explore the possibility of buying the building rather than leasing it. If that were done, they would own the building only, not the land it sits on.
Otto said a third appraisal was being done by a third party and should be completed in the next few days. After that, JCAC will again consider the topic.
At the beginning of the meeting, Brad Weisenburger, JCAC chairman, called the meeting to order, welcomed the BOCC members and introduced Ed Eilert, BOCC chairman.
Eilert said the airport operations, particularly New Century, were key business development areas for the county government. “Your participation, your guidance and your business knowledge is important to the ongoing and successful operation of the airports,” said Eilert.
Later, Eilert gave an update of the search for a new county manager.
The county is in the process of selecting a search firm
“This is not an overnight process. After we select a search firm, we’re probably looking at 30 to 45 days for the firm to secure or take action in regards to potential applicants,” he said.
Eilert said if things go as expected, a selection could be made in July or August.