Juneau Airport looks to new fees, savings to pay for increased costs

Juneau Airport tower

The airport is facing higher costs of deicer, fuel, supplies and security. (Photo by Rocky B/Flickr Creative Commons)

Juneau International Airport’s fiscal year 2014 budget will be more than half a million dollars larger than expected, due mostly to increased supply costs and a new federal requirement that the Juneau Police Department provide security.

Officials with the city-owned airport presented budget revisions to the Juneau Assembly last night (Wednesday).

The new fiscal year begins July 1st, but the city has a biennial budget, meaning a preliminary spending plan was approved last year. At the time it was thought airport expenses for FY 14 would be just over $5.3 million. It’s now more than $5.8 million.

Acting airport manager Patty deLaBruere says higher costs for things like runway deicer, fuel and other supplies are to blame. But most is due to the need to hire five new Juneau police officers to provide airport security. Previously the airport contracted with a private company, but federal law now requires public safety be provided by sworn officers.

“We’re working with JPD to take over on October 1st. We were going to try an extend it to January 1st, but Goldbelt, who’s are contract security, elected to just end it with the contract itself. So Sept. 30th, instead of extending, they are going to end and JPD will take this over. As a result, it’s increasing our budget under services and charges by almost $254,000.”

The airport will pay for the increased expenses by raising fees and rental rates. Some fee increases, such as new parking rates have already been approved, while others will be phased in over the course of the year. Alaska Airlines will pay a new fee for every passenger screened by the Transportation Security Administration, which will provide money for the increased security costs.

Despite the fee increases, the airport will still be forced to use about $22,000 in savings to balance its FY 14 budget.

Juneau International Airport is a city-owned enterprise that runs on revenue from users, including passengers and airlines. It has a board of directors that is appointed by the CBJ Assembly.

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