By LISA MACNEIL
The first meeting of the newly formed Airport Advisory Committee on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
DEPUTY COUNTY ATTORNEY JON JOUBEN
Roles and Responsibilities of Committee Members and Sunshine Law Overview
Deputy County Attorney Jon Jouben introduced the roles of the newly-assembled Airport Advisory Committee, “The duties of this committee are set forth in chapter three of the Hernando County Code. Basically, it’s to advise the Board of County Commissioners on aviation-related matters and developments at the airport.”
Jouben alluded to the self-explanatory nature of the title of the committee, and added, “We are covered by the Sunshine Law, which, for all intents and purposes means (the committee) can’t communicate yourselves, outside the public eye on issues that are going to come before this committee. The public records act, (which means) anything that memorializes information related to this committee is going to be public record that you have a duty to preserve.” Jouben then advised the committee that they should have dedicated email addresses for committee business.
Jouben also advised the committee that they are bound by the Public Ethics Act, which he explained, “It’s very similar for us who have taken the Bar Exam … when in doubt, the answer is ‘No.’”
INTRODUCTION OF THE BOARD AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Before the introductions began, Board Member Joel Fritton advised Acting County Administrator Jeff Rogers that the elected chairperson should be a “subject matter expert for obvious reasons.” Zoe Lorca agreed with this advice.
Ray Fuqua is a Hernando County resident of 3 years, and a Florida resident for 20. Fuqua’s background is in the retail end of aviation. He has owned a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) in an airport of the same size and scope as Brooksville Tampa Regional Airport (BKV) just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The retail side pertains to flight school, charters and fuel sales. Fuqua has also worked with Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) grant agreements.
Frank Morsani is a 40-year Brooksville resident who started the car dealership Freedom Ford in 1976. Morsani has also owned auto dealerships in Georgia, Kentucky and Nevada. Morsani has owned his own aircraft for approximately 30 years, beginning because his business required it. He’s also served on the Hillsborough Aviation Authority for 8 years, 4 of them as chair.
Paul Douglas has been a Hernando County resident since 2001 and considers BKV “The ultimate in trying to get business into this county.” Douglas also is the head of the local NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and was once “very involved with the airport.”
Timothy Beard is currently the President of Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) and has lived in Hernando County since 2006. Beginning as the Vice President of Student Enrollment, Beard has served as President for the last four years on a campus of approximately 17,000 students. Recently, PHSC has started its aviation program, which has attracted students statewide and internationally. The program specializes in unmanned vehicles, pilot training, administration and mechanics. Beard’s emphasis is on education with a great connection with Economic Development.
Joel Fritton is a Hernando County attorney. A former prosecutor, Fritton currently serves as general counsel for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Fritton applied to serve on the Airport Board because he believes if the airport prospers, then the community prospers.
Zoe Lorca was the Aviation Planner for the state of Michigan for eight years. Keeping track of 132 public-use airports, Lorca oversaw writing and administering aviation improvement grants, and understands the administrative and bureaucratic side of aviation. Lorca said, “People don’t understand that aviation can be the heartbeat of a community, it’s an economic engine, and we have such a beautiful facility… and I’m really excited to be here.”
Tyler Stapleton could not attend due to a prior commitment.
Role of the Chairperson
Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty explained that the elected Chairperson would be in charge of running the meeting. Management will meet with the Chair 1-2 weeks before the Airport Advisory meeting to go over the agenda and any specific topics to research and discuss.
Ray Fuqua nominated Frank Morsani, Zoe Lorca seconded. Morsani accepted the nomination. The board approved unanimously.
Rogers turned the head chair over to Morsani, who undertook the role of Chairman, and began the process of selecting the Vice-Chair.
Zoe Lorca was elected Vice Chair by unanimous decision.
ESTABLISHMENT OF MEETING SCHEDULE
Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty discussed the proposed meeting dates with the board. Required to meet on alternating months, the board selected the next three meeting dates on May 21, July 26 and September 17. All meetings will be held at 9:00 AM in the John Law Ayers County Commission Chambers. Future dates will be determined during the May 21, 2019 meeting.
AIRPORT MANAGER KEVIN DAUGHERTY
Daugherty gave the board a broad, yet informative presentation of BKV’s structure, functions, assets and future plans.
Daugherty presented a high-level overview of BKV. An airport with two licensed runways. Runway 9-27 is just over 7000 feet, 150 feet wide, and runs east to west. Runway 3-21 is the north-south runway, just over 5000 feet long, 150 feet wide. Both are concrete, originally constructed in 1944. Daugherty mentioned the capital plan to begin improvements on the runways, which the Board of County Commissioners has previously approved.
The airport spans more than 2400 acres, bordered by Spring Hill Drive to the north, Sgt. Lea Mills Drive to the south, Broad Street / Highway 41 to the East and Corporate Blvd and Aerial Drive to the West.
Class D Airspace
Designated as a Class D (Delta) airspace, Daugherty explained, “Class Delta is easy to fly in, it’s uncongested. We’re seeing a lot of movement from the southern / Tampa Bay region up here because it’s just so much easier to operate in.
Air Traffic Control Tower
BKV’s FAA approved air traffic control tower is a contract tower. Currently staffed by one tower manager and six air traffic controllers. All staff is paid by the Federal Contract Tower Program, but BKV owns the building and it’s contents.
Navigational aids are present to assist in training and to assist pilots in inclement weather. Runway 9-27 has an instrument landing system. Every runway end has GPS (Global Positioning System) non-precision approaches.
Safety and Security
Daugherty reports that BKV is a Premier General Aviation Airport, one of a few that provides an on-site fire station. BKV has recently purchased a new ARFF (Airport Rescue Firefighting) truck for Station 14, which services parts of Spring Hill as well as the airport.
HCSO’s aviation unit and BayFlight is also stationed at the airport.
Last year, Daugherty reports 70,000 annual operations up 23% from 2018. He expects operations to reach 80 to 90-thousand next year. Additionally, operations are increased nationwide, due to increased training, business travel and recreational flying. 130 aircraft are based at BKV spanning a range of types and sizes.
Aviation based businesses include the long-lived FBO, a paint shop, aircraft maintenance, avionics and a large list of others, which Daugherty said he could provide upon request.
The Florida Army National Guard’s aviation support unit and armory are also based at BKV, moving from Lakeland in late 1999. The Coast Guard conduction training exercises as well, practicing approaches from C130s and helicopters. BKV also supports parachute operations on the West side of the airport, which can be viewed and enjoyed by the community.
The Technology Center makes up the original industrial park and the corporate airpark. Not well known, is that BKV owns and manages a Rail Spur that’s used by 84 Lumber. The 130 businesses that employ more than 2,000 people make circuit boards, fencing and other goods, as well as provide services.
Not readily known is if any of the businesses provide apprenticeship opportunities. Daugherty promised to follow up on this question as well.
BKV puts in roadways and utilities and infrastructure so that buildings can be constructed on the lots. Businesses pay the ground leases to the airport. This allows the company to spend money on their building, employees and capital improvements. The ground leases account for approximately 70% of BKV’s revenues.
Barrette Outdoor Living’s 100,000 square foot expansion of their 200,000 square foot distribution center is currently under construction. Jaguar Coffee is moving from their Linden Drive location to Telcom drive to satisfy their space needs.
BKV has its own self-sustaining Enterprise Fun, and does not receive any General Fund subsidy from the county. “This is big,” Daugherty said, “Most general aviation airports cannot pay for themselves.” The current operating budget for Fiscal Year (2018) is $2.2-million.
As mentioned before, ground leases comprise about 70% of BKV’s revenues. The other portion comes from hangar development and leasing, agreements with car clubs, agricultural leases and fuel flowage fees. Daugherty likes to remind tenants that their dollars spent at the airport stay at the airport.
Daugherty reports very low debt service. The only debts BKV is currently servicing involves the paying off of T-Hangars, which Daugherty hopes will be complete before the maturation date.
Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
Largely funded through federal and state grants, many up to 90% through the FAA. Depending on the type of improvement, state grants are usually 50-80%.
BKV’s staff consists of Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty, Projects Manager Michael Ullven
along with a Finance Specialist, Administrative Assistant and a Maintenance Tech.
Recently Completed Projects
The board was briefed on BKVs most recent improvements, including the Sam Pearson Way realignment, airfield electrical improvements, Taxiway B (Bravo) improvements and T-Hangar development
SENIOR AIRPORT PROJECTS MANAGER MICHAEL ULLVEN
Taxiway A Rehabilitation
First constructed in 1944, Taxiway A has been the topic of planning and funding in recent years. Described as, “At the end of its useful life,” Daugherty reports chunks of concrete needing to be removed daily. BKV has received a federal grant for the project, which is expected to go out for bid soon.
Ullven anticipates a meeting with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in June 2019 for approval to begin, and the construction time is expected to be 210 days. The project will be split into phases, with work being done during days and nights, depending on the phase. Daugherty remarked that it might be easier to do it all in one phase, and that the airport may have discretionary funds available next year if necessary.
Runway 9-27 Rehabilitation
This project, also expected to span multiple phases, will extend Runway 3-21 an extra 999 feet to achieve a final length of 8000 feet. The result is expected to be another boost for BKV, since the longer runway will be able to accommodate larger aircraft.
The first phase would involve shifting the east-west runway, 9-27 to the west by 815 feet, rehabilitating the surfaces, and reconfiguring safety areas that are currently shared by both runways.
This project is still in planning.
Corporate hangar redevelopment
This project is currently taking place. Piston aircraft have already relocated out of the T-hangars, and some demolition has taken place.
The project began on February 19, 2019 and is expected to be completed by June 2019.
Aircraft Self-fueling Facility
The BKV received a Notice to Proceed (NTP) on March 18, 2019. Completion date is expected to be October 4, 2019
West side Development
The Airport Master Plan shows large hangar development on the west side of the airport, however, roadways and infrastructure to these hangars still need to be put in place.
Currently funded are the extensions of Telcom Drive and Technology Drive. The extensions of these roadways will open that area up to aeronautical and non-aeronautical development
Also in this area is what Daugherty called “the lost runway,” a portion of runway 9-27 in such poor repair that it cannot be used.
Roadway projects include extending Helicopter Drive 600 feet on the north side of the airport, and re-configuring of several irregular curves on Sgt. Lea Mills Drive. Also, future land uses are to be addressed. Daugherty reports when the Corporate Airpark and Industrial Airpark were platted, the expected building size was around 10,000 square feet. No longer the case, as can be seen with Barrette Outdoor Living and other modern businesses, the roadways, infrastructure and drainage need to be evaluated in order to be proactive with future needs of airport tenants.
Interim County Administrator Jeff Rogers asked about the frequency and cycle of updating the Airport Master Plan. Daugherty responded that when he came to BKV in 2013, there was an update that was approved in August of 2016. The Master Plan is on a twenty year cycle, that is updated every ten years.
Rogers reported that Legislative appropriations have been heard in subcommittee and approved favorably, and that the runway extension project should be on course.
Economic Development Manager Valerie Pianta addressed the new board to explain her department’s close relationship with BKV. Pianta said, “We work side-by-side and Kevin’s (Daugherty) fund does pay for a portion of my salary as well. A great portion of economic development happens at the airport… we have 2,400 people that work there and we still have 1,000 acres to develop.”
Pianta explained the department’s marketing efforts to specific industries such as manufacturing, back-office operations, distribution, and of course, aviation.
Partnering with regional organizations like Team Tampa Bay, Pianta recognizes that the future workforce may not live in Hernando County. “We know that our strength is regional, our workforce is regional, so we go out together as a team and meet Site Consultants (who are) the drivers for the larger projects.”
A good portion of what Economic Development does involves existing industries. Pianta’s main focus is to keep Hernando County industries “growing, expanding and making sure they stay here.”