JAA sends $65 million budget to City Council for approval

June 26, 2012

by Joe Wilhelm Jr., Staff Writer

Jacksonville City Council will consider a proposed Jacksonville Aviation Authority budget of $65.8 million, up 2.2 percent from the current 2012 fiscal year.

The authority’s board approved the budget Monday. The board is required by law to submit its budget annually to Council as an independent agency of the City.

The budget proposal for fiscal 2013 includes a $2.7 million loss in operating revenues for fees and charges, but an increase of $3.2 million in space and facility rentals.

The budget also shows a trend toward a shrinking operating margin from 32.7 percent in 2011 to a projected 29.4 percent in 2013.

“Our profit margin has been shrinking because our passenger counts are shrinking,” said Michael Stewart, JAA director of external affairs.

Passenger numbers peaked in 2007 at about 6.33 million, compared to about 5.6 million in 2011, Stewart said.

JAA projects increases in concessions, up 2.9 percent or $417,406, and parking, up 4.4 percent or $705,664.

Operating expenses include a proposed 6.5 percent, or $1.2 million, increase in wages and benefits. These include an average 3 percent pay increase.

JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman also announced the promotion of three members of the executive staff.

“Last Monday marked a major milestone in our reorganization efforts,” said Grossman.

Rosa Beckett, previously JAA director of marketing, was promoted to chief administration officer. Tony Cugno, former director of aviation management, was promoted to chief operating officer.

“Both individuals went through a rather rigorous selection process and competed very effectively against some very well-qualified candidates,” said Grossman.

Bob Simpson transitioned from interim COO to chief of Cecil Airport.

“He’s now going to spend most of his time at the big airport on the Westside and we are looking for some great things out there as far as development goes,” said Grossman.

Simpson has stated that he plans to retire in October 2013.

Another part of Grossman’s reorganization plan is the elimination of the position of director of aviation management and the promotion of Chris Styles to the position of director of operations.

“Chris would be here this morning, but he had some rather important weather-related issues to take care of this morning with his staff,” he said, as Tropical Storm Debby was drenching parts of Northeast Florida.


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