At a joint meeting today, councils for the County of Lethbridge and the City of Lethbridge approved an agreement which will see the city provide assistance to cover operational funding shortfalls at the County Airport up to the end of 2014.
Under a joint resolution passed by both councils, the city commited to covering 80 per cent of any operational funding shortfalls at the county-owned airport, to a maximum of $200,000 per year. The city’s portion would be redirected from funding already allocated to the Airport Enhancement Marketing Initiative, which is being dissolved.
“The county and the city have a mutual economic interest in the airport,” said Lethbridge County Reeve Lorne Hickey. “Although the airport has been breaking even, this agreement helps us address some challenges we anticipate in the near term while we continue to explore longer-term strategies regarding airport governance as well as the marketing and commercial development of airport lands.”
The county remains the sole owner and operator of the airport. At a joint meeting a year ago, both councils agreed to enter discussions on potential models for joint governance and ownership of the airport. Those discussions are expected to continue.
“The reality is that the primary users of the County Airport are people who live in Lethbridge” said Lethbridge Mayor Rajko Dodic. “This agreement essentially allows us to re-purpose some limited funding that was already approved by this city council in the current operating budget for airport initiatives.”
Under the agreement, if the city’s portion of an operational shortfall in one year is less than the maximum, the unexpended funding would roll over into the following year up to the end of 2014.