The Civil Air Patrol, Squadron 08301, a non-profit organization, has operated at the Brooksville – Tampa Bay Regional Airport since 1990. The squadron occupies the 1,960 square foot facility located at 3151 Air Commerce Boulevard, directly next door to the Florida Army National Guard. The squadron is requesting the Board’s approval of a below-market ground lease agreement and the continued free use of a dome hangar.
Kevin Daugherty, Airport Operations Manager, fully supports the Civil Air Patrol, “We understand their purpose. Everything about them is awesome.” Daughtery recommended continuing the squadron’s below-market ground lease agreement; except to release the dome hangar back to the airport to return it to the rent roll (rental inventory) to increase revenue for expenses such as Capital Improvement Projects.
The Civil Air Patrol will maintain the $120 annually for the ground lease rental rate, compared to the standard aeronautical ground rental rate of $8,146 per year.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does allow federally obligated airports to offer reduced rental leases for Civil Air Patrol squadrons as outlined in Federal Register Volume 64 Number 30 (1999). The reduced rental rates are only available to units that operate aircraft at the airport and provide in-kind services to offset the below-market rental rates.
The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to grant a 90-day extension to the squadron to secure the funding of $3,410 a year for the hangar, as their contract has expired. Otherwise, the squadron will be afforded a tie-down option, which is to secure and cover the aircraft outside of a hangar.
Yet, for the Civil Air Patrol, the hangar is required to secure the craft, in compliance with an agreement between the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol’s use of the craft. So their only option at this point is to find the required funding for the hangar.
“When they set up this agreement 20 years ago there was not a hangar demand that there is now,“ Daugherty said, though it is not clear when the hangar requirement became a part of the agreement with the squadron.
The Civil Air Patrol relies on volunteers and donations since they are a non-profit organization. The squadron receives only small contributions from the Air Force for approved operations such as search and rescue, but only enough to cover fuel, maintenance, and repair. The funding does not cover man-hours or property costs. The squadron relies on fundraisers, such as Swampfest, which will not be held this year, according to Lieutenant Colonel Marlene Welch.
Due to the recent lack of funding, greatly due to the current pandemic, it is not in the squadron’s current budget to rent the hangar that is needed to house aircraft, so the 90-day extension will be necessary for fundraising.