Airport Agreement with City Deferred

A normally routine $2.93 million annual agreement with the city was deferred for the second consecutive month by the Tulsa Airport Authority and its affiliated trusts at its January meeting.
Deferred was the eighth amendment to the agreement calling for the airport to reimburse the city for the services it provides. The big-ticket item in the agreement is for the Tulsa Fire Department. The remainder is primarily for administrative services from other city departments from the mayor’s office on down.
The amendment calls for an increase for the fiscal year from $2.65 million, up 10.7 percent. The fire department share would rise from $1.5 million to $1.6 million.
Recalling his days as a city councilor, Dewey Bartlett, Jr., said the quality of service provided by the city ‘‘was abysmal.’’
Bartlett said, ‘‘I don’t think we should agree to this’’ in asking for the item to be deferred. ‘‘It doesn’t feel good to me.’’
The city has ‘‘had some organizational issues,’’ Mayor Kathy Taylor said, but has ‘‘made some great strides.’’
Jeff Mulder, airports director, told the authority that the airport has ‘‘had some issues’’ with the city, but has ‘‘seen some improvement recently.’’
Mulder pointed out that the airport is in transition itself as negotiates for new contracts with the airlines. The present 30-year lease expires in mid-year.
Pat Connelly of the city finance department, told the authority that there were problems in 2003 and 2004, but that it has not received any complaints ‘‘for a couple of years.’’
The finance department is providing the airport with timely financial reports, makes adjustments in charges to the airport for unfilled city posts and provides monthly billing, Connelly said.
The authority was presented the $143.37 million five-year capital improvement program running from the fiscal years 2009 through 2013 for both Tulsa International and Jones-Riverside Airports.
The plan foresees 23 projects costing $127.89 million at Tulsa International and 13 projects totaling $15.48 million at Jones-Riverside. As many as eight different sources — some limited to Tulsa International, others dedicated for Jones-Riverside — of funding are identified — The Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust general fund, its major maintenance fund, the Passenger Facility Charge, Federal Aviation Administration entitlement funds, FAA discretionary funds, FAA funds to the state, state funds and other, such as from bonds.
For the 2009 fiscal year six projects with a 11.52 million price tag are projected for Tulsa International and three costing $350,000 are planned for Jones-Riverside.
The Tulsa International projects are: continued noise mitigation program, $7.3 million; approach lighting system for planes landing to the west, $1.5 million; improvements to the north area for development, $1 million; demolish the old Mingo School building, $275,000; replacing snow removal equipment, $750,000, and designing the rehabilitation of the main runway and a taxiway, $700,000.
At Jones-Riverside the projects are: rehabilitating taxiways in two areas, $125,000; rehabilitating the perimeter road, $125,000, and preparing engineering and environmental reports for improving the crosswind runway, $100,000.
The authority also received a report that could lead to future actions on a projected $25 million project that would raise the roofs on the two terminal concourses. The roofs need to be replaced and raising them will add a new dimension to the terminal’s architecture.
Jeff Hough, deputy airports director for engineering, said the job is made more complex by the need to keep the airport open and operating while the work is being done.
Airlines boarded 1.61 million passengers at Tulsa International during 2007 compared with 1.59 million passengers a year earlier and 1.745 million in 2000, the record year.
A record 60,103 tons of mail and freight moved through Tulsa International during the year, up from 59,784 tons the previous year.

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