grand_jury

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – 09:30 a.m.

A recent San Bernardino County Grand Jury report certainly didn’t do the public any favors, with its so-called blessing, regarding the situation at San Bernardino International Airport.

Whomever cajoled the investigative body into pening the bizarre and misleading ‘3-page’ document should be ashamed of themselves.

After all, the group can’t even pass gas without the blessing of the District Attorney.

The whole thing smacks of someone asking for a favor.

The report, along with the usual political cheerleading, was covered extensively in a story published, earlier this month, in The Sun newspaper.

While credit should be given for the effort by SBIA to correct accounting, and contracting irregularities, pointed out by a scathing Grand Jury report, issued some  two-years ago. It should be noted that it was an FBI probe, with accompanying search warrants, that was the primary catalyst for change. Up until then, the airport was operated like a local slush-fund.

Now, as the news story indicates, SBIA has a significant operating deficit.

Make no mistake. It’s a very large deficit.

The current year operating budget is, once again, subsidized by a $5.5 million grant from the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA), and a $5.1 million transfer from a property management fund. The IVDA is reponsible for development of a massive project area surrounding the airport. The agency, flush with cash, is funded by property tax increment, paid by property owners, within the project area.

That means 24% of the annual $43 million SBIA operating budget is funded by non-operational sources. The IVDA “grant” has been an annual requirement to sustain the facility.

Actual revenue from operations is projected to be a paltry $455,000. The keyword here is “projected”. A term that has had very little meaning in the past. I would prefer a disclaimer of plus or minus a million or two.

Still to materialize? Any scheduled passenger airline being even remotely interested in operating out of the airport.

Is this a situation that anyone should be trumpeting?