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MidCoast Regional Airport finalizes budget proposal
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Members of the Joint Management Board, which oversees operations on the civilian side of MidCoast Regional Airport, finalized a fiscal year 2012 budget proposal of $527,795 on Friday.

Now, it is up to two of the airport’s three funding entities, the Liberty County Development Authority and the Hinesville City Council, to adopt the budget, which would take effect July 1.

The Liberty County Board of Commissioners, the MCRA’s third funding entity, already has approved its 2012 budget, including the allotted amount, County Administrator Joey Brown said.

The LCDA is set to vote on the MCRA budget along with its fiscal year 2012 budget Tuesday morning, and the Hinesville City Council is slated to discuss the budget during its July 7 meeting, representatives said.

As proposed, the budget would require each organization to contribute $36,462 to the airport. Other sources of revenue include $58,320 in hangar leases, $105,000 in jet fuel sales and $132,000 in aviation gas.

The bulk of expenses are site maintenance and staff, one full-time, two part-time and another half-time.

Members Allen Brown, Billy Edwards, Joey Brown, John McIver, Ron Tolley and Michael Hodges, who participated by phone, discussed ways to cut the projected $32,736 in maintenance costs to only $30,031.

Edwards suggested the airport employees learn how to change filters in the fuel farm, a move that would save an estimated $2,500 in third-party labor costs.

Another hot topic was the airport’s relationship with current fuel provider British Petroleum. Hodges said he observed fuel prices for the MCRA that at times were 30-60 cents higher per gallon than those at Florida’s Sebring Regional Airport.

When Hodges tried to discuss the matter with BP, it recommended a transition in service to a smaller fuel provider, Perry Brothers, he said.

"Effectively, BP was saying, you know, ‘Guys, we don’t want to deal with you anymore,’" he said.

At the board’s request, Hodges will research and present possible fuel provider alternatives to the board when it convenes next month. The current contract with BP does not have an expiration date, LCDA Finance Director Carmen Cole said.

Board member Jim Thomas was not present.

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