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MCRA board postpones management move
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Though the MidCoast Regional Airport currently is on a month-to-month agreement with its management company, the MCRA Local Joint Management Board members on Friday requested more information before they vote on whether to continue the relationship.

When the contract with ABS Aviation Services was up for renewal in October, the board extended the contract by six months and commissioned LCDA staff to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of continuing with the company compared to assuming the management role.

As the Courier previously reported, the MCRA pays ABS $50,000 per year in management fees in addition to reimbursing for some administrative fees, such as payroll, office supplies and postage.

The contract expired in February, but the company has continued to work on a month-to-month basis since then, according to LCDA Finance and Administration Director Carmen Cole.

Known in the aviation industry as a fixed-base operator or FBO, the management company’s role is to oversee general aviation management tasks at the airport, including sales, service, rentals, parts and repairs, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.

Cole presented her analysis to the board Friday. She indicated a potential savings of $54,711 without the contract.

“As a part of that, I took a look at the potential savings as I see them directly related to the FBO, based on current costs — but with some of these come other challenges,” Cole said.

Challenges include determining whether the entities will need to create a payroll system for the airport or whether one entity would assume the payroll, identifying someone who can supervise employees and operations, and establishing a marketing direction.

Cole added that the airport has potential to save money on general liability insurance if they opt not to renew the contract, but she said the insurance company has yet to provide her with a specific amount of savings.

During the discussion, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said the analysis only shows the potential savings, but not any potential costs associated with the change.

“I didn’t do it that way because we’re currently covering all of the costs already,” Cole said. “So these are the places that I believe the airport would save, because these are costs that directly relate to the FBO — if we took these in, we wouldn’t have those expenses.”

Thomas requested a breakdown of expenses related to marketing and how the group can become versed in airport management. The other members — Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver and Liberty County Development Authority Chairman Allen Brown — concurred.

The board requested the information prior to the change of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Cole said she would try to get the information in time for the board’s May 3 meeting.

During the meeting, the board also spent 30 minutes in executive session to discuss a land acquisition in a conference call.

The board also approved:

• a flooring request for proposals for replacement of flooring in the terminal building. The work includes removing and disposal of current flooring, installation of porcelain tile with grout, sealing cracks and spot leveling.

• a facilities use request from the city of Hinesville, which plans to hold its annual employee recognition ceremony at the airport.

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