Airport profit might be on the horizon in Carroll

May 14, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Increased fuel sales and fully leased corporate hangars could finally lead to a profit for the Carroll County Regional Airport, a persistent money loser for the county.

Fuel sales in the past 10 months have exceeded the total for all of last year by more than 100,000 gallons, an 80 percent increase, and are expected to reach 375,000 gallons by the end of the fiscal year June 30.

In addition, the county has leased all seven of its new corporate hangars, which cost $4 million to build. The county expects to earn $420,000 annually from the hangar leases.

Business is so good that Gary Horst, who supervises the airport as administrator of the county's Office of Performance Auditing and Special Projects, predicts a profit of about $50,000 next year.

"We might break even this fiscal year, and we are anticipating a profit next year," Horst said yesterday during a meeting with the county commissioners.

Tom Priscilla, an engineer with the Federal Aviation Agency, congratulated the commissioners yesterday.

The county has recently made several improvements to the 155-acre airport property, which opened in 1979 on Route 97 outside Westminster. Those include a $350,000 security fence - 15,000 feet of chain link, 12 feet high, topped with barbed wire - around the airport perimeter and a $3 million expansion of the airport's apron, an area for aircraft next to the terminal.

Plans include adding another 25,000-gallon fuel tank, expanding the 5,100-foot runway and buying adjacent property for further development.

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