Upper Cumberland Regional Airport Manager Dean Selby asked the four government entities affiliated with the airport to consider increasing their contributions.
Those four entities are Putnam County, Cookeville, White County, and Sparta. The request to increase from $28,000 to $35,00 each came as part of budget approval at Tuesday’s airport board meeting.
“I feel like, and based on TDOT’s (study), we do contribute a lot to the local economy,” Selby said. “That study showed that we put $19.7 million that flowed through this airport to the local economy, and it costs money to make that happen. And our cost has gone up tremendously on everything from insurance to light bulbs.”
Selby said that they have not asked for this type of increase since he has been at the airport. He said that the only reason they asked for one this year is that inflation has outpaced the airport’s ability to keep up with its goal of breaking even.
Selby said that the funding will help cover some of the matching funds for major projects slated for the coming year in particular. He said that this year’s projected total operating budget sits at some $1.52 million.
Selby said that the biggest change to this year’s budget is the major increase in insurance costs, which have doubled since last year.
“Our insurance on the facility, the facility insurance it over doubled,” Selby said. “$25,000 to $26,000 that is going through the pool. We have tried to shop it and there was only one person that would even take it, and when they came back they couldn’t bid it in time to even do it and they wouldn’t be able to touch it.”
Selby said that they strive to do a zero-based budget, where the income equals the expenses. He said that they calculated the budget using operating numbers up to last month to account for price increases and inflation.
In other business, the board also approved the election of new officers and new appointments to the board.
Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter was re-elected to his position as chair, Jeff Jones was re-elected to his position as vice-chair, and Pete Ziegler was re-elected to his position as Secretary/Treasurer.
The board welcomed Chad Marcum as the new White County Commission representative.