City considers funding for airport again |

City considers funding for airport again

Emily Aughinbaugh

Can the Lake Tahoe Airport achieve self-sufficiency?

Although it’s not a new question to ponder, city and airport officials haven’t given up on resolving the conundrum.

While capital improvement projects mount and commercial service remains absent, the South Lake Tahoe City Council is considering whether big ticket maintenance projects should still be funded as the airport continues to spend more than it makes.

Halfway through its fiscal year, the airport’s expenses are a little more than $72,000 over its revenues. Operation costs remain despite the loss of commercial service, which resulted in the loss of parking and rental car revenue and passenger facility charges, landing and advertising fees.

At its last meeting, City Council tabled a request by the airport to supply matching funds for a Federal Aviation Administration grant that would reconstruct the airport’s cracking runway.

The council tonight is scheduled to vote on hiring engineering services required by the FAA before the airport can apply for the grant. During an inspection in March, the FAA told the airport the runway had to be fixed to stay operational.

Although the airport’s maintenance needs are plentiful, City Council may not jump to fund them.

Councilwoman Brooke Laine said the Council needs to explore whether the airport’s spending trend will turn around before more grant money is approved.

However, Councilwoman Judy Brown said despite the airport’s losses the city needs to continue to support the airport.

“We’re not giving up on the idea of securing funding,” Brown said. “We’ve got to be proactive.”

After a presentation by the Airport Commission regarding a strategic action plan this afternoon, City Manager David Childs is scheduled to discuss a six-month budget review, capital improvement projects and the establishment of an Airport District.

The establishment of a Joint Powers Authority between the city, El Dorado and Douglas counties will also be discussed. The creation of a three-party agreement would bring in about $125,000 from each county.

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