Westmoreland County Airport Authority to delay submission of budget plan to commissioners
By Joe Napsha
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Facing a $200,000 deficit in its tentative budget for 2013, the Westmoreland County Airport Authority Tuesday decided to delay submitting the spending plan to county commissioners until authority members can review it.
Donald Rossi, authority chairman, said the airport authority could ask the county for additional money, but the authority's financial committee will review the proposed budget.
“I don't want to send the county a budget we can't live with,” Rossi said.
With the board deciding not to discuss the tentative budget at the public meeting, Gabe Monzo, authority executive director, declined to reveal the proposed budget.
The authority's budget must be approved by county commissioners.
For 2012, the authority submitted a budget of just more than $2.1 million for operating the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity and Rostraver Airport in Rostraver, said Dwayne Pickels, authority administrative assistant. The budget includes the authority's annual debt service of $729,300.
The county will contribute $1.42 million toward the airport authority operating budget this year, plus cover the $729,300 debt service. That allocation includes a one-time appropriation of $415,000 for developing Latrobe Airline Services, said Sandy Flanders, financial administration director for Westmoreland County. Latrobe Airline Services is the authority-owned operation that services Spirit airplanes as well as providing passenger services, such as baggage and passenger check-in.
In 2011, the airport authority had submitted a $2.05 million tentative budget to the county.
In other financial matters, the authority gave its approval to issue $4 million in bonds to refinance its 2007 debt, a move that will save the authority about $210,000.
The authority approved the bond issue, pending county commissioners guaranteeing repayment of the bond. That is expected to be done on Oct. 18, said Thomas S. Lynch, a Pittsburgh bond counsel for the refinancing.
With interest rates at about 2.87 percent, compared to the 4.21 percent interest rate on the 2007 bonds, the authority will not increase its annual debt service with the refinancing, said Michael Zubasic, managing director for PNC Financial Services Group's public finance division. The authority can't start repaying the 2007 bond issue until March 2014.
The authority will receive at least $210,000 at the time of closing, which should occur around Thanksgiving. That money could be used for capital projects, thus freeing up money allocated for capital projects, Lynch said.
“It's a win for us,” said Mark Gera, authority member.
Rossi received assurances that if the authority wants to borrow $30 million for a new airport terminal in two years, its refinancing would not hurt its bid for additional financing. Rossi said he did not want to risk issuing a $30 million bond issue in 2014 for savings now.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.