Jax Transition budget review: Jacksonville Aviation and Port Authorities

bags-of-money budget copy

The latest in a series of Jax Transition Budget Review blogs for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and Jacksonville Port Authority.

10:26: Sam Mousa just kvetched to Ron Littlepage about the library budget. “They have $1.5M. They need to spend what they’ve got.”

10:30: Mousa seems to want this to be a quick meeting. Library running 30 minutes over is going to require schedule shuffling.

10:31: Brief overviews of the airport as an “independent authority” which has “interaction with COJ” regarding fire and rescue services and budgetary approval. Jacksonville International is a medium “origin and destination” airport. The largest operating expense: wages and benefits. Money does not come from COJ, but from federal and state grants.

10:35: Revenues at historic highs. Customer service rating has been top 5 the last few years. The airport is run like a private business.

10:36: The airport is “extremely heavily regulated” so there is not freedom on how to spend funds.

10:37: The last two or three years, consolidation of the airline industry required a conservative approach. They’ve moved toward being “cautiously optimistic.” Looking at a positive budget variance of over $2M.

10:39: A discussion of contingencies, such as hangar damage during hurricanes. There have to be contingency funds for immediate repair to manage vendor relationships. Dollars also go for unfunded mandates from the Feds. Budgeting an operating margin of about 33%.

10:43: Discussion of requisitions and transfers.

10:44: Capital projects include “runway rehab” and other “ordinary repairs and maintenance.”

10:45: Over 3M “seats per year” in and out of JIA. Cost per plane is below the median by almost 20%, and will be less under new budget. This is an important metric.

10:47: The airlines are very pleased with the budget; they are usually the source of pushback.

10:48: Fees and charges being discussed. Rents, cleaning fees, et al.

10:52: Question about commercial facilities owned. Cargo facilities and a warehouse are there.

10:52: Discussion of Cecil Commerce Center as a space port. The Gulfstream G3 is launched with a rocket and a nano-satellite. The hangar is a covered space allowing fueling and loading, which are activities that are fraught with risk.

10:55: JIA and Cecil are the revenue drivers. Other airports are struggling comparatively, as business model for light GA activity is “slowly dying.” Herlong is doing well with “small planes.”

10:58: Mousa: “Even Craig Field is in the red?” Yes, says the airport folks. Capital amortization and insufficient revenue streams are the culprits.

11:03: On to the Port Authority.

11:04: Appears that they’ve crafted a concise, high-level presentation.

11:04: Crowley has moved to the Talleyrand terminal. Also, “one of the largest carriers in the industry is coming to Jaxport this summer.” All good.

11:05: Operating income services debt, faciliates pay as you go capital projects, matches federal and state matching funds.

11:06: Money from city ($5,2M) goes to debt service.

11:07: Mousa wants to know what is meant by money going to pay “city debt.” The interlocal agreement draws from telecommunication taxes and other revenue sources, such as a JEA contribution via kilowatt millage. City issued debt in the 1990s for terminal expansion and the money goes to debt service.

11:11: Capital projects! A Master Plan for next few decades was created in 2013, and the plan reflects that. Berths are aged, cranes are superannuated; capital replacement is needed on extant infrastructure, as well as new projects for expansion. Blount Island is being developed into a post-Panamax terminal; this is slated to be a 2 year project. 3 new post-Panamax cranes are coming in by end of FY 2016 also.

11:13: The discussion, it turns out, is of the current year’s budget. The next year’s budget still needs to be approved by the board.

11:15: The projects in the new budget are going to continue the current initiatives. Dredging of Mile Point being discussed. The displaced dirt is going to wetlands improvement, to improve the habitat.

11:17: Maintenance dredging is being discussed. They are looking for a partnership on an upland spoils site in the coming years. Land acqusition, et al. Mousa: “that would be a great public-private partnership.”

11:19: Looking for a Project Partnership Agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers on deepening. Expected costs: $700M. They “aggressively go after federal and state funding.” Weinstein wants to know the level of competition. The only one is Everglades, yet they don’t seem as far along. Miami is “basically complete” with a combination of state and local funds.


A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn