Airport unveils $45.6M budget

Officials 'optimistic' about coming year

— Juggling expenses with money coming in to the airport from food vendors and airlines also requires careful attention.

“You have to look carefully at staffing levels to see if (they) are in keeping with the amount of money that will be coming into the airport in terns of rent from the airlines, dollars that the concessions will provide to the airport,” said Meyers. “It’s quite a balancing act and there are a number of different factors you have to look at to come up wit ha budget we feel will not only be balanced but will make all the ends meet.”

Weather is an unpredictable factor, especially in winter, and ensuring there’s enough wiggle room to account for surprise snow storms is a big issue, said Meyers.

“You have to plan for winter storms and the amount of ice melting material and sand you’ll need on a runway,” said Meyers.

The numbers for 2011 aren’t in yet but Meyers said he thinks the airport will be within 1 or 2 percent of what was budgeted for weather-related upkeep.

“Throughout the year we adjusted any of the variables that we c an adjust to ensure that at the end of the year we do have funds left over to provide a revenue sharing for our airlines,” said Meyers.

So far, this winter season has been mild and Meyers said (knock on wood) harsh winter weather doesn’t even appear to be looming.

“It’s a guess what’s coming. … We don’t have any serious storms in the forecast as yet. The end of 2011 seems pretty clear,” said Meyers, adding the airport once made it all the way until Jan. 12 without a significant storm to handle.

Once the inevitable snow does come, though, things can get pricey.

“Snow storms are very expensive for the airport and involves an awful lot of overtime for people,” said Meyers.

To put it in perspective, Meyers said if you lump all the parking lots, roadways, aprons, tarmacs, taxiways and runways together into a 12-foot wide strip, it would be akin to a single-lane highway and be the equivalent of plowing 120 miles.

“That’s an awful lot of snow,” said Meyers. “It can tax your resources in terms of dollars and also puts a heavy burden on people removing that snow.”

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