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City Looks to Reduce Subsidies to SMO

New parking lot could help generate more revenues, reducing the airport's reliance on city funding.

A new parking lot could help offset subsidies to the Santa Monica Airport, which received $3.3 million from the city's general fund in the last fiscal year.

The parking lot would be built on the airport's campus and would be available to auto dealerships in need of storage. It would generate about $100,000 per year for the municipal airport, according to Public Works Director Martin Pastucha's estimates.

"This revenue would provide an additional source of funds in an effort to reduce/eliminate the subsidy from the city's General Fund," Pastucha wrote in an email. 

The airport is one of five city properties that generate their own revenue but still require subsidies from the city's general fund—a catchall account for services such as public safety, parks, and social services. A recent budget forecast found a growing deficit in the general fund would reach $15 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The airport, along with the cemetery, pier, Civic Auditorium and housing funds, will need $6.6 million in general fund subsidies over the five-year budget forecast "in order to meet their operating and capital needs," according to city staffers.

The airport accounts for a small portion, $0.1 million. That figure does not include potential increases to landing fees. The estimate is less than what staffers initially projected, by about $1.3 million, because of new land leases and capital improvements projects that have been deferred.

At the cost of $507,000, the 1.7-acre parking lot would be constructed on undeveloped land at the north-east section of the airport.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the funds for construction at its Tuesday night meeting.

an interested observer January 22, 2013 at 06:53 PM
$6.6 Million over five years will be needed, of which $100,000 will be attributable to the airport. $20,000 per year deficit? Am I reading that right? If so, what's the big deal about the airport when the Civic Auditorium and others are the real deficit players?
Brenda Barnes January 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM
You're reading it right, AIO, and this is how confusing info eventually is accepted as fact. Besides, the City made a deal with SM College to trade land at the Airport for the parking lot SMC leased next to the Expo station planned at Stewart and Olympic-Exposition Blvds, whereby SMC got some 50 offices in return for a parking lot. If that had been done in a businesslike way, the Airport would make money.
Pilot Dave January 23, 2013 at 02:19 AM
The city of Santa Monica does not need to subsidize the airport. The FAA would gladly pay for airport improvements. New land leases and capital improvements have, of course, been deferred due to the city's failed visioning project. Let's get the FAA on board and expand operations at the airport!
Glenn E Grab January 23, 2013 at 08:37 PM
visioning?......the only thing these anti-airport advocates envision is closing the airport....

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