MidAmerica St. Louis Airport continued to lose money in 2011, but less than in previous years.
The airport saw a $3.5 million decrease in losses, a point highlighted by J.W. Boyle & Co. Ltd, of Belleville, in its latest audit of St. Clair County finances. The County Board approved the audit at Monday's monthly meeting.
"We have tightened our belts out there," Board Chairman Mark Kern said.
The airport had an operating loss of $8.4 million, a 30 percent decrease from the previous year, when the county posted an operating deficit of $11.93 million.
The loss was attributable to equipment and facility depreciation and amortization costs of $5.8 million and operating expenses of $3.56 million, less $940,806 in operating revenues. Operating expenses were about half what they were in 2010 partly because of cuts in marketing, according to the audit. Revenues doubled from 2010.
Airport officials are anticipating revenue to grow further this year with Allegiant Air's reintroduction of passenger service after an hiatus of almost four years and the opening of the North Bay Produce warehouse, which is expected to draw air cargo.
The county subsidized the airport with $3.8 million in transfers and capital contributions. That was decrease of about $600,000 from 2010.
Overall, county revenues fell $4.5 million from 2010 to $94.2 million. The decrease was caused largely by a decline of $2.3 million in federal and state grants, according to the audit. Investment earnings fell by $927,000, and property tax revenue fell by $452,000 because of a slightly lower tax rate coupled with a decrease in assessed valuations.
County expenses dropped by $7.3 million to $84.6 million. The decrease included declines in demolitions, lease costs, tort insurance, transportation costs and health expenses.
In other action, the County Board:
* Approved an agreement with Good Energy that calls for the New York-based energy management consulting firm to handle the marketing and bidding process for the county's proposed electric aggregation program.
Electric aggregation will go before county voters in the Nov. 6 general election. If approved, the county would be granted the power to bargain for cheaper electricity supply rates on behalf of residents who do not opt out of the program.
Good Energy plans to organize St. Clair County -- and several other Southern Illinois and central Illinois communities that have placed electric aggregation on the November ballot -- into a single bargaining unit. Locally, these include Belleville, Centralia, Collinsville, Granite City and Madison County.
The firm would be paid a fee out of any new electric supply contracts it negotiates.
* Passed a resolution opposing a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce hours of operation on the Kaskaskia River.
In October, the corps is set to reduce hours and frequency of lock operations on the Kaskaskia River because of budget cuts. The Kaskaskia Regional Port District and county officials are worried the plan will hurt river commerce, specifically grain shipments and the Prairie State Energy Campus' coal mining operation.
Contact reporter Kevin Bersett at email@example.com or 239-2535. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KevinBersett.