In Accounting 101, one learns that business costs are the sum of labor, materials and overhead. The latter is typically less than 25 percent of cost. At Mid-America Airport, however, things are much different.
The 2015 county audit, once again, showed a loss for their “business-type activity.” Up 14 percent, it was $13.7 million (third biggest loss ever.) The main reason was the increase in overhead, which rose to 283 percent! Not that that’s a big number for the airport; it’s always been well over 250 percent — 10 times that of a viable business. Overhead rose to $10.8 million in 2015, meaning the other $2.9 million in losses came from operations.
Conveniently, Chairman Kern only publicizes operating costs — thinking and managing small — dismissing the most significant hurt to the taxpayer. On Sept. 5, he told reporter Joseph Bustos, “We continue to move in the right direction.” Really? “... more landing fees (down 66 percent to merely $39,046,) and concessions (up 4 percent or $28,534) and other things (down 57 percent to $22,998) ... continue to move the airport operating (to) a break-even level.” Actually, costs went up and revenue went down. 2014: Costs $3.5 million; revenue $1.05 million. 2015: Costs $3.8 million, revenue $952,489.
In truth, the airport’s operating costs are still four times its revenues! for any business, that would lead to an exit from the market or bankruptcy. But, so long as the county can cover three-fourths of operating costs with taxpayer money, and can transfer millions more to cover overhead, ending operations is a pipe dream.
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Richard L. Skillings, Troy