Airport panel talks budget, runway
Wiscasset’s Airport Advisory Committee and Interim Airport Manager Rick Tetrev on Sept. 20 wondered where to pare the next budget to meet selectmen’s directive. Selectmen earlier this month called on Town Manager Marian Anderson to find $500,000 to cut from the town budget next year.
Earlier this year, then-Airport Manager Frank Costa proposed a bare-bones budget that was then lowered before going to voters, Tetrev and committee members said. So they weren’t sure where to save next year, or how the town will come up with its share of the estimated $3 million runway replacement in a couple of years. The federal project would take matches of $150,000 each from the town and state, said committee member Ervin Deck, a past manager of the airport.
The project was once eyed for 2017, then 2018 and has now been delayed until 2019 because the airport’s easement matter with Chewonki Campground has remained pending, Deck said. During the meeting, neither Deck nor other participants voiced concern about the latest delay in the runway project. In a brief interview afterward, Deck said his concern would be if there were continued delays. Except for a newer taxiway that will not be part of the project, the runway’s asphalt base dates to 1960 and has had multiple coats added over the years, he said.
The committee briefly discussed possibly raising fuel costs a penny to help fund the town’s five-percent match of the project’s cost, and possibly seeking to have any unspent airport money at the end of the fiscal year be set aside for it. The panel took no votes. Members noted they are an advisory panel and can only make recommendations. They said selectmen will decide the budget that goes to voters, and will also be the body that decides the airport rules the committee is starting to draft.
Deck said no one make airports write them; but either the Federal Aviation Administration or insurance companies may start calling for them, he said. The panel will set a date to work on the draft. Tetrev said he would like to have the rules ready by April.
Member Kerry Leeman asked Tetrev if he would be applying for the manager’s job. “That’s a good question,” Tetrev said. He said he will see how it goes in the interim role. He will take part in the budget work, he said. “I won’t desert you.”
The committee meets next at 5 p.m. Oct. 18 at the airport.