Terre Haute Regional Airport Reduces Budget by 10 Percent

Aug. 11, 2022

Aug. 11—Terre Haute Regional Airport's board of directors Wednesday approved a proposed 2023 budget that is nearly 10 percent less than its current budget.

The proposed 2023 total budget is $2.70 million, down from $3.24 million in 2022, excluding a $240,000 Rainy Day fund. The airport's general fund for 2023 is $1.28 million, down $1.33 million in 2022.

Kelsey Veatch, finance manager for the airport, said the airport had worked on a budget with a 5% increase in property tax funding, however that growth was offset from an estimated $552,900 loss in revenue due to state property tax cap limits.

That projected loss or cut, known as the circuit breaker, is usually about $324,000, Veatch said, so the airport just used the higher circuit breaker projection as a loss in the budget, causing the budget to decrease.

"A lot of that has to do with higher assessed home values," Veatch said of the circuit breaker. The lower budget means fewer improvement projects such as getting an all terrain vehicle to patrol the perimeter of the airport and a lower marketing budget, which means the airport will likely push back new signage until 2024, Veatch said.

Airport officials will use $175,000 of Rainy Day funds to refurbish four hangars fronting Indiana 42. Work includes repainting a large portion of metal siding, as well as replace the lower 3 feet with decorative stone. That work is expected to be completed in November.

The proposed budget next goes to the Vigo County Council for approval on Sept. 13, before going to the state's Department of Local Government Finance.

In other issues, Jeff Fisher, former fire chief of the Terre Haute Fire Department who heads the airport's fire team, said a new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighter (ARF) truck is slated to arrive within a month, earlier than expected. The $699,738 vehicle, from Oskosh Airport Product LLC and paid from federal funds, is part of the airport's five-year capital improvement plan.

That plan had included a design and construction of a new fire station at the airport, however, Airport Director Jeff Hauser said a new fire station is no longer in consideration. Rather, an existing building will be extended to accommodate the new ARF truck. That addition will likely cost about $265,000, Hauser told the airport board.

Fisher said the airport, while it has older vehicles, has run drills and can still respond to the middle of the longest runway in under three minutes. The new ARF truck should reduce that response time, Fisher said. Also, new firefighting gear has been ordered, Fisher said.

Hauser also told the board a potential tenant is expressing interest in a 4-acre site at the airport, currently used to store farm equipment, for a new hangar.

Hauser said the site will likely need pavement improvements.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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