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United States : BUTLER COUNTY to negotiate for a 5 month extension on its CINCINNATI JET CENTER contract.

Butler County bought 5 more months to try to come up with a plant to help the Butler County Regional Airport fly on its own without county subsidies.

The county was able to negotiate a 5 month extension on its contract with the Cincinnati Jet Center, so they can weigh their options. The commissioners were angered during budget hearings in October to learn the contract with Cincinnati Jet, the fixed base operator (FBO) who handles daily operations at the airport, was set to expire this month. The airport failed to break even for years and the short notice left little time if the commissioners wanted to put the contract out for bid.

County Administrator Charlie Young said that the county isn t jumping right on bidding out the airport contract. They have had good discussions with the operator about what can be done to improve the bottom line.

Young said, we re making good progress in moving in that direction. Once we have completed those discussions with the FBO to the extent they re satisfactory, we would be considering an extension for a longer period of time. If they prove not to be satisfactory we would then move forward with looking at a different way to operate the airport.

Cincinnati Jet has been running things for 5 years and they turn over revenues from leases, gasoline and rent to the commissioners and keep the rest as profit. The county pays the operator to mow and plow at the field. The county receives 8 cents on the gallon and the contractor is pumping an average of 350,000 gallons a year.

The cost is estimated at $251,783 to run the airport this year and revenues from the leases and gas are projected at $257,401. Revenues are expected to top expenses by $9,277 and that does not include the $154,912 debt service payment.

Officials began talking to the jurisdictions in the county about ponying up cash to pay for the 10% matching money the county has to pay to get Federal Aviation Administration grants for capital improvement projects. The Commissioner Don Dixon said that the overture was like putting the cart before the horse, because the county didn t have a good handle on the exact financial landscape at the airport.

Dixon said, I won t ask any other entities to get involved with us financially out there until we know what we ve got, and we have a solid plan in front of everybody that makes sense. If the plan is to just try and raise more money to make up for the money you ve lost, I m not interested in asking any other jurisdictions.

The regional collaboration idea is in the hopper but has been put on the back burner. Another idea bandied about involves the jurisdiction that wasn t asked to the table, the city of Middletown, which owns its own airport. The county and Middletown don t view each other as competitors in the aviation field.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jan 5, 2015
Words:515
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