BY KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
STAFF WRITER
kpierceall@pe.com

Published: 27 June 2012 09:52 PM

A year after a county civil grand jury criticized the management of the San Bernardino International Airport and questioned the increasingly unchecked role of a private developer, plenty has changed.

The government agencies overseeing the airport have a new director, new legal battles and now a new budget that doesn’t forecast for any commercial flights landing there for the next 12 months. The agencies also plan to seek new legal counsel.

The airport authority expects to spend $6.8 million in the next 12 months to cover costs of operating and finishing remaining construction at the airport while earning $9.2 million in revenue, according to the new budget that was passed unanimously by the governing boards of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and related Inland Valley Development Agency on Wednesday June 27.

The earnings include a $5.5 million grant from the IVDA and don’t account for debts that may be owed by companies managed by the developer Scot Spencer that filed for bankruptcy protection, and debts of other renters at the airport. The IVDA board approved a balanced $4.03 million budget but voted to continue to further review the complex budget at its next meeting, scheduled for July.

The two agencies, governed by elected officials from some of San Bernardino’s east valley communities, have been overseeing the redevelopment of Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, which closed in 1994.

They are using property tax revenue to develop a business park and commercial airport there.

Past budgets have forecast costs and revenue for regularly scheduled flights that never happened.

Changes have been made to the structures of both agencies. Starting July 1, all employees will work for the IVDA and will no longer be eligible for county health and retirement benefits. The airport’s operations and maintenance workers were transferred to a separate non-profit — San Bernardino International Airport Inc. — formed by the agency a few months ago.

At the same Wednesday meeting, the board approved spending up to $826,000 in professional consulting contracts, including $108,000 for Alex Estrada, the agency’s recently retired director of redevelopment and transportation. Some $205,000 has been set aside for legal costs in the next 12 months.

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