The Williams Gateway Airport Authority board approved a $9 million operating budget Monday for the upcoming year without knowing whether Apache Junction will soon become a paying member.
The mayors of Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek and the president of the Gila River Indian Community sit on the board, representing the four governments that jointly own and fund the airport.
Apache Junction was once was on the board, but dropped out when authority members began to subsidize airport operating costs. These subsidies are to be paid off once the airport becomes profitable.
But now Apache Junction is considering rejoining, which would cost it about $175,000 a year. Assistant city manager Bryant Powell said the city needs to decide whether it can stay in it for the long haul. The City Council’s decision will probably come in mid- to late June.
"Clearly, our one issue is long-term stability, and we’re having a tough year just like everyone else," Powell said.
The airport budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 can be amended if Apache Junction does rejoin, director Lynn Kusy said.
Issues such as whether the other communities’ contribution levels would change as a result haven’t been resolved, something Queen Creek Mayor Wendy Feldman-Kerr said should be more clear by now.
The airport budget includes $3.4 million from the member governments, the same as last year.
The contribution level is based on population, with Mesa at 76 percent, Gila River 13 percent, Gilbert 10 percent and Queen Creek 3 percent.
Apache Junction’s amount would fall between Gilbert and Queen Creek’s contributions.
The budget passed 3-1, with Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman voting no. He said the average 5 percent pay raise for employees was too high. He said he would support a 4 percent increase.