Activity is starting out slow in 2013 at the Lakeland Airport.
At Thursday’s Airport Commission meeting, airport administrator Jon Schmitz reported that the number of passengers who used the airport and sales of aircraft fuel at the Arbor Vitae facility were down in February from the same period last year.
Year-to-date numbers are also down overall for the first two months of 2013.
According to Schmitz, 1,702 gallons of Jet-A fuel were sold in February – down 2,306 gallons from the 4,067 gallons that were sold in February 2012.
In February, 1,365 gallons of 100LL fuel were sold – down 769 gallons from the 2,134 gallons that were sold in 2013.
In February, 32 passengers were recorded as using the Lakeland Airport – that’s down 29 passengers from the same period last year and down 23 passengers from the same period in 2011.
Schmitz also discussed with the commission the additional expenses the airport has incurred this year related to snowplowing and keeping the runways and taxiways clear of ice and snow this winter.
“The commission’s snowplowing costs incurred in 2013 can be expected to easily exceed original estimates, even without considering next fall and winter,” Schmitz said. “In addition to the need to either pay overtime and or hire workers to supplement the regular maintenance person, the cost of fuel during this period is already approaching the total the commission expected to spend for the entire year.”
Schmitz said because of the increased use of fuel it’s possible some of the grass cutting might have to be reduced as a cost-saving measure.
According to Schmitz, in addition to paying the increased cost of 31 hours of overtime, the commission has also had to use part-time help during the same period – 32 hours at cost of $16 per hour for a total cost of $512.
Schmitz also said that so far in 2013 the airport has paid $5,037 for diesel fuel and $1,667 for gasoline for a total cost of $6,714 while the total budgeted for the entire year is $7,000. The airport had budgeted $4,000 for diesel fuel and has already spent $5,037. Another $3,000 had been budgeted for the entire year for the purchase of gasoline – $1,667 of that has already been spent so far this year.
Other issues discussed with the commission included:
• Schmitz informing the commission that hangar fees have been paid by all of the responsible parties, with the exception of one. He said that payment was not made because the renter said he hadn’t received the billing notice. Schmitz said another bill has been mailed to that individual.
• No updates for the commission on the progress of having a new maintenance storage building constructed at the airport. Officials hope to have the new building erected and in service by some time late in 2013.
• Schmitz told the commission that on March 5 he had been scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C., to sit on a panel formed to review proposals for a study on LED lighting for airfields. He said his flight out of Rhinelander was canceled that day so he did his part of the review via teleconference.
“My involvement was to ensure general aviation sized fields were represented,” Schmitz said. “Dominating the group were representatives of airports from New York Port Authority, Hartsfield-Atlanta, Orlando, and Oklahoma City.
Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at email@example.com.