Airport fuel sales back in budget

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019


On July 22, Franklin’s City Council amended its 2019-2020 budget to include $67,500 in anticipated revenue from the sale of aviation gas and jet fuel at the city’s airport.

According to Interim Finance Director Tracy Spence, fuel sales at the recently-rebranded Franklin Regional Airport ceased on July 1 — the day the 2019-2020 budget took effect — as a result of no money having been allocated for fuel sales in that budget. City Manager Amanda Jarratt had proposed cutting fuel sales from the airport’s budget in early April but, after receiving several phone calls from concerned members of the aviation community, had proposed a plan later that month for continuing fuel sales while maintaining most of the 2019-2020 budget cuts she had recommended.

As previously reported, Jarratt’s initial decision to recommend doing away with fuel sales had been the result of a proposed personnel cut at the airport, reducing its full-time staff from two employees to one, and its operating hours from seven days per week to just Monday through Friday. She had explained that while one employee would be sufficient for refueling private aircraft with aviation gas, two would be needed to refuel larger, corporate aircraft with jet fuel, and to transfer fuel from the city’s supplier to the airport’s fuel farm. Jarratt’s late-April plan for continuing fuel sales had called for training someone from the city’s Public Works Department to assist with refueling operations on an as-needed basis in lieu of a second full-time employee.

Asked why the 2019-2020 budget adopted on May 13 had not included fuel sales, despite this plan, Jarratt explained that the Council’s vote to restore the fuel sales line item had occurred after its vote to adopt the city’s 2019-2020 budget, albeit on the same night. As such, the July 22 meeting was the Council’s first opportunity to adopt a budget amendment reflecting their earlier vote to add the fuel sales back in.

As for the personnel cut that led Jarratt to initially recommend doing away with fuel sales, June 20 was now-retired Airport Manager Jimmy Gray’s last day on the job, and Jarratt confirmed that the airport’s second full-time employee, Mike Caulder, had resigned prior to his position being eliminated on July 1. Trev Linton, Jarratt said, is filling in at the airport on a daily basis until the airport manager position is filled full-time.

“Prior to resuming sales, we had to make sure that Trev had the proper training and was approved by our insurance company to sell fuel,” Jarratt said. “He has completed the required training and we are now selling avgas (aviation gas). We are having the jet fuel in our possession tested and will begin to sell that again as soon as the test results come back.”