After the Statesboro Bulloch County Airport received over $ 500,000 in unexpected revenue from a film production, the district borrows the full $ 750,000 needed to build a new rental hangar with two bays for corporate aircraft.
Both county manager Tom Couch and airport manager Kathy Boykin say the airport should be able to use its hangar rental and fuel sales revenues to repay much of the loan. While the repayment comes in at a very low interest rate of 1.5% annually over five years, Couch said, the county-operated airport can also retain much of the nest egg that has accumulated and be better prepared for a possible interruption in transportation special purpose local Sales tax or T-SPLOST option, revenue.
Another project that is still awaiting construction is the “rehabilitation” or surface renewal of the airport’s parallel runway at an originally estimated total cost of US $ 1.2 million. For such projects, the airport receives grants from the Federal Aviation Administration through the Georgia Department of Transportation, but these usually require a local share of the funding.
“Much of this debt problem should be repaid, at least in part, with rental income and gas sales, and you know the airport is well funded right now,” Couch said Thursday.
He realized that it would be enough to pay for this one project directly.
“But even though they have a lot of money in the bank, we recommended that they would be better off funding a short-term income bond through the public agency and then they would have enough cash flow to meet local gaming requirements for the FAA- and DOT grants they receive, âCouch said.
Funding for the hangar project “also provides some sort of hedge” in the airport’s accounts to keep it going “in the unforeseen circumstances where T-SPLOST would not be renewed,” he said.
When the majority of Bulloch County’s voters were approved in 2018, the five-year sales tax of 1% on transportation expenses allowed up to $ 562,500 for the airport. That was projected total revenue of $ 48 million to $ 60 million, with the largest portion going for road and road projects in the county and its cities.
T-SPLOST tends to be at the high end of that range, Couch said, but voters would have to vote in a new referendum for it to be extended beyond year five.
Three of Bulloch County’s elected commissioners – Jappy Stringer, Anthony Simmons and Timmy Rushing – met at 5 p.m. Tuesday in a specially appointed capacity as the Bulloch County Public Facilities Authority and approved the issuance of a bond issue to BB&T Governmental Finance. BB&T offered the $ 750,000 at 1.5%, the lowest rate among five banks’ offers.
During the entire Board of Commissioners’ meeting at 5:30 p.m., all six agreed to an intergovernmental agreement with the agency that would oblige the county to repay the loan if necessary.
“It’s almost like making an agreement with yourself,” said Couch, “but it’s all perfectly legal and superficial.”
The Bulloch County Public Facilities Authority was created by county law of the state legislature in 2020. By acting through the agency, the county government can, in certain cases, issue bonds without holding a referendum. Similarly, earlier this year, the Statesboro city government used a newly established Urban Redevelopment Agency on the $ 4.5 million single bank loan that was used to fund the modernization of two parks.
Local company Hawk Construction LLC won the contract to install the hangar for a bid of $ 683,341, which was accepted by commissioners on June 15. Hawk’s price was the lowest of the sealed offers received from five companies.
The plan is to install a metal building that includes two separate 75 x 75 foot hangar rooms, each with a small office and toilet in a corner on a concrete slab, and some paved areas for parking spaces.
This will coincide with the airport’s one existing two-story company hangar. One of the 75 by 75 bays is occupied by a corporate jet shared by several local companies while four smaller planes share the other bay, said Boykin, the airport manager.
“The reason we want the bigger hangars is because we have a lot of requests for charter services and jets, various things the planes could be stationed here if we had the bigger hangars,” she said.
But Boykin spoke to someone at Hawk Construction on Thursday and was told that the company would not be able to get the materials it needs until December, so construction will not take place immediately, she said.
Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport also has T-hangar buildings that can accommodate 53 relatively small aircraft. It houses five other hangars, including one for a Georgia Forestry Commission aircraft, two as maintenance operations, and one privately owned.
“We have a waiting list for company hangars as well as the smaller T-hangars,” said Boykin. âMany want to move their planes to our airport. … We have several things in our favor. “
In addition to having a 6,000-foot runway for jets, the airport is staffed and sells both kerosene and aviation fuel, she notes. It also has tank trucks, so it can offer both full-service and self-service tanks.
“Many smaller airports only have self-service avgas,” Boykins said. “So that helps, and then we just had the runway rehabilitated, and then there’s the location.”
In March and April, a model of the superstructure of the aircraft carrier USS Leyte from the time of the Korean War was built on a rear runway of the airport, which was then used for the filming of parts of the big movie “Devotion”. The production company leased the area and paid the airport or the district for this use.
âIt’s a blessing too. â¦ âSaid Boykin after realizing that this unexpected income exceeded half a million dollars. “This is revenue for the airport that helps pay for these other projects.”
Total airport revenue from the film appears to be $ 529,780, with the additional $ 29,780 coming mostly from the filmmakers’ purchases of aircraft fuel, Couch said Friday.
The county received bids for the runway rehab project in April, and RB Baker Construction, a subsidiary of Reeves Construction, made the lowest bid among four bidding companies, Couch reported. Baker’s base bid was $ 852,504 with an additional alternative of $ 89,536.
Boykin cited $ 1.2 million as the total estimated cost of the project and found the award to be within that figure.
Currently, this project faces both some uncertainty and the possibility of cost savings for the county and the airport. Due to some specific federal funding provisions to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, no local funding adjustment was required for a grant for the design work last year.
That would also be the case with home finance if pushed forward this federal financial year, which would normally save a required 5% local match with 90% federal and 5% state funding, Boykin said.
But the GDOT has not yet received any further federal funding to allocate Bulloch County.
“This is on hold until the federal government allocates funding to the project, and if you get this before the call expires, we can proceed with it,” she said. “Right now we just want the federal government to allocate the money.”
She had heard that she would expect news of this by August 17th.