The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 6, 2012

Ashtabula County Airport Authority asks for $35,000 to end year in black

By CARL E. FEATHER - cfeather@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Airport Authority has requested an additional $35,000 from commissioners to help fund operations at the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport this year.

The written request from the authority came on the heels of a verbal request that Authority Chairman Dwight Bowden presented to the board in a work session last month. Bowden told commissioners that the authority would need the money to end the year in the black.

The airport has already used up its annual appropriation of $95,000 from the county’s general fund. That amount covers the annual payment on the new hangars, for which the authority has struggled to find tenants for.

Commissioners did not act on the request.

“I’d like to see next year’s budget,” said President Peggy Carlo.

“I’m opposed to giving them any more money until there is some real serious change in the direction over there,” Commissioner Dan Claypool said.

Claypool said the operation continues to lose money despite hiring a consulting firm to produce a marketing plan for the former Ashtabula County Airport. The report suggested that the authority lower the hangar rent and offer one month free to new customers, but the board voted last month to raise the rents, instead.

Claypool also said that the price of fuel is too high at the airport, which sets its price based upon an average of what other airports in the region are charging. Fuel sales are off by about 20 percent this year, the authority reported last month.

Bowden said Wednesday that the authority is working on its 2013 budget and will take up the matter during its next meeting, scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday, at the airport.