Metro-East News

Board OKs $18,477 bonus for MidAmerica Airport director

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Director Tim Cantwell on Thursday addresses the St. Clair County Public Building Commission, which approved an $18,477 bonus for him.
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Director Tim Cantwell on Thursday addresses the St. Clair County Public Building Commission, which approved an $18,477 bonus for him. mkoziatek@bnd.com

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday approved an $18,477 bonus for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Director Tim Cantwell for meeting performance goals last year.

Cantwell declined to discuss the amount approved and referred questions about it to members of the commission.

Commission Chairman Richard Sauget could not be reached for comment. Commissioner Jim Nations, who made the motion to approve the bonus, also could not be reached.

Cantwell’s base salary is $126,692, according to county records.

Last year, Cantwell received a $20,458 bonus.

The commissioners met in closed session to discuss Cantwell’s annual bonus and then voted unanimously to approve it. They did not discuss the agreement in open session.

We need to cut back in our budget where we can.

St. Clair County Board member Fred Boch

Fred Boch, a county board member who regularly attends Public Building Commission meetings, said if he was on the commission, he would have voted against Cantwell’s bonus.

“We need to cut back in our budget where we can,” Boch said.

Cantwell sent County Board Chairman Mark Kern a letter on Jan. 2 detailing his request for a 2016 bonus based on an agreement that has been followed since 2004. The agreement calls for the Public Building Commission to approve the bonus.

Here are details from Cantwell’s request:

▪  A bonus of $10,000 is awarded for the first 10,000 passengers and 10 cents for the next 40,000 passengers and 5 cents for every passenger after that. Based on that formula, Cantwell earned $15,477 because MidAmerica had 79,551 passengers last year.

▪  A bonus of $3,000 is awarded for each new tenant operation. Based on that requirement, Cantwell earned a $3,000 bonus because Enterprise entered into an agreement to lease parking spaces and counter space. That agreement is for two years with a yearly extension after the initial term.

Parking lot expansion

The commission approved a $749,000 plan to expand the MidAmerica parking lot to meet growing demand.

Cantwell said the construction is expected to be finished in May before the peak summer travel season.

Travelers park for free at MidAmerica, which Cantwell said is a selling point for passengers. However, he said county officials have discussed whether to start charging for parking.

The lot currently has 838 spaces and the new construction will add 438 spaces for a total of 1,276.

Rooters Asphalt of Beckemeyer was awarded the construction contract of $625,000. Seven other companies bid for the work. Engineering will cost $124,000.

Nations asked Cantwell if the parking lot should be expanded more than what was proposed.

“I don’t think you want to overbuild,” Cantwell said. He noted he was following the commission’s goal of building “to need, not to want.”

Cantwell said he is seeking a state grant to help pay for the engineering costs.

In other action

▪  The board approved a $332,514 contract with Thyssenkrupp to make improvements to the MidAmerica’s two passenger boarding bridges, or jetways. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to pay 90 percent of this cost, which would leave the county’s share at $33,251. The boarding bridges are 20 years old.

▪  The board decided to hire a new consulting firm for MidAmerica. Volaire Aviation Consulting will replace Eugene-Ore.-based Sixel Consulting Group.

Cantwell said Volaire is a newly formed company comprised of former Sixel employees who are familiar with MidAmerica. The board voted to authorize Cantwell to spend up to $35,000 with Volaire when needed.

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