Airport, Vector reach agreement

Published 12:25 am Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The South Alabama Regional Airport Authority on Tuesday approved a five-year lease with Vector Aerospace.

SARA co-administrator Jed Blackwell said the agreement still needs the blessings of Vector’s board of directors, but a verbal agreement is in place. Under the new lease, Vector would:

• Pay $25,000 per month for the first two years.

• Pay $30,000 per month in years three, four and five.

• Have a 12-month exit clause, which it could not execute prior to Oct. 1, 2017.

Blackwell said, “Vector has been an asset for many years. I think this details the community’s commitment to them.”

Negotiations for a new lease agreement had been ongoing for months. Vector previously asked for a year’s free lease on the facility, but that request was not approved.

In other business, the authority:

• approved a budget totalling $3.6 million in expenses for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The budget figures include a proposed 3 percent raise; however, the authority took no action on a line item authorizing pay increases.

• Authorized Blackwell to establish a $250,000 line of credit with Southern Independent Bank.

Blackwell said the loan is needed because its fuel provider, Perry Brothers, is changing its terms. At present, SARA has a 30-day window; in the future, it will have a 10-day window.

Most of the airport’s fuel sales are to the military, which pays on a 30-day cycle. Blackwell said the short-term loan will “keep us liquid.”

Part of the new line of credit will be used to pay off an existing line $90,000 of credit at Cadence Bank.