Events

June 19, 2013

Mojave Air and Space Port adds funding for Events Center

Raphael Jaffe

Finances dominated the topics discussed at the June 18 Mojave Air Space Port directors meeting.

Funding was increased to rehabilitate Bldg. 137 as an events center, and the proposed 2013-2014 fiscal year budget was presented. Additionally, the Administrative Code was amended and the Northside project completion was announced.

Events Center

The World War II era Pool building [Bldg. 137] is being renovated to become an events center.

The board approved $600,000 to start at its Aug. 21, 2012 meeting; and next yearís budget proposal has an item of $485,000 to continue the work. Staff program manager John Kelly reported that addition funds are needed to bring it to minimum operating capability by Sept. 15, 2013, and more complete capability by Feb. 1, 2014. To complete dual exterior restrooms, the bid is $364,000 greater than the $95,000 previously budgeted. Also, heaters at a cost of $50,000 have to be installed for an anticipated February 2014 event.

Approval of an additional amount of $330,000 was requested of the board. It was approved on a 4-to-1 vote. The desenting vote was by director Dr. Allan Peterson. He was evidently uncomfortable with the piecemeal way the project funding requests have been proposed. During discussion of the item, Witt said ìIt will be a great asset to the airport, even if it not cheap.î He likened it to the funding of Heritage Park, which was subsequently paid for by a donor.

Proposed budget

The 2013-2014 budget proposal was presented by deputy GMO Karina Drees, and had been prepared by her and CFO Erika Westawski. Revenue is expected to reach $10 million. The breakdown is leases at 44 percent, cooperating revenue at 32 percent and fuel sales at 21 percent. An FAA AIP grant of $1.7 million is included as expected. Revenue balances expenses with the inclusion of $412,000 transferred from reserves.

Two new expense categories are a marketing expense account, funded at $101,000; and directors discretionary travel fund of $20,000. Event expense has been budgeted at $20,500, an increase from the $1,387 of last year.

Major nonrecurring expenditures include nearly $1 million in facilities improvements; primarily pump house improvements [fire suppression] and events center renovation. Capital expenditures include: $485,000 for events center improvements; $120,000 for Rincommini Blvd. water line and oleanders; $50,000 for two security department trucks; and $28,000 for a 2013 Chevy Equinox.

The directors have several comments on the budget. There will be a directors meeting in the next few days that will firm up the budget, which is scheduled to become effective on July 1.

Administrative Code

Witt has been discussing bulk fuel sale with an interested party. He requested, and the board approved, a change to the Administrative Code. It states that the general manager has the authority to negotiate the price per gallon of fuel sold for purchases of 10,000 gallons or more. Witt feels this may be a convenient way to add to airport income, as there would be minimal costs to handle these large fuel transfers. Other changes to the Administrative Code have beeen proposed, and will be handled at future meetings.

Northside Project completion

A major project to provide fiber cable internet connectivity, electricity and water to the north side of the airport has been completed. As of June 17, the water service was activated, the other services having been activated several weeks ago.

The project cost was about $1,184,000. This answers tenant requests for such utilities and increases the value for land leases in the future. There are several prospective new tenants for this site.




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