New Data Presented at February Airport Commission

The following data was presented at the airport commission meeting on Monday 27, February 2012.

Santa Monica Airport Fiscal Year 2012/2013 Budget Discussion – Airport expenditure budget for 2012/13 is $4,525,255 and estimated income is $4,248,939 (a $276,000 shortfall).  Additionally the airport is planning to spend an estimated $2.97 million dollars on capital improvements in 2012/13 (runway repairs, new lighting, building maintenance, etc.), this money has already been approved in the city budget.

Santa Monica Airport Revenue and Expense Evaluation During the discussion of this item it was revealed that Atlantic Aviation (which is one of the SMO Fixed Base Operators) pays the city approximately $190,000 in leases per year while at the same time it sub-leases (on aviation land) to a variety of non-aviation tenants bringing in around $2.2 million dollars per year for Atlantic.  Commissioners asked if it is appropriate that taxpayer dollars subsidize these businesses to such a level, and if the city is properly enforcing the profit sharing provision of the aviation leases.  Aviation lease rates were set as a result of legal agreements with the FAA, and changing them prior to 2015 may be difficult, however, commissioners felt that not enough was being done to recover taxpayer dollars, or to reduce the amounts by which the city must subsidize airport operations given the huge windfall the current aviation leases represent for those holding them.  City staff promised to look into this matter and report at the next commission meeting. (see Santa Monica Patch article on this subject)

Summary of Agreements between the City of Santa Monica and the FAA

Ad Hoc Committee Report – Airport Commission Visioning Workshop now scheduled for April meeting.

There was also extensive discussion regarding the city visioning process.  Commissioners noted that according to resident attendee reports (and their own experiences), workshops appear to be heavily attended by pilots and pro-airport organization representatives.  At one recent such meeting more than half the attendees fell into this category.  These individuals appear to all be speaking from the same list of ‘talking points’, which suggests that this is occurring as a result of deliberate organization by airport proponents.  Many of these individuals apparently do not live in the surrounding neighborhoods. After discussion, commissioners agreed that the process should be open to all stakeholders, but felt that it was critical that in any final report the comments made should at least be attributed into broad ‘interest groups’ where possible. City staff stated that this was not explicitly tracked by the visioning process but agreed to look into the matter.