Hayden Burt Ver Haar, the No. 2 guy at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, is one of three finalists for the top job at Montrose Regional Airport.
Ver Haar is a victim of budget cuts at YVRA, where his position is being eliminated.
"The airport is one of the biggest drains on the county budget," Airport Director Jim Parker said. Parker said he was forced to cut the operations division, which includes three full-time jobs, out of the 2001 budget.
The responsibilities of operations personnel communicating with the pilots, coordinating snowplowing and data collection are being absorbed by the other divisions.
When Parker started at his position in 1999, one of his duties was to find ways to run the airport more efficiently. Operations was the only division that could be cut, he said.
The aircraft rescue and firefighting division couldn't be touched because the Federal Aviation Administration requires that it stays intact. Plus, maintenance and administration are too important to cut, Parker said.
The cuts had to be made because in 2001, the airport is budgeted to run $690,000 in the red. About $400,000 of that will be subsidized from Routt County, which owns the airport, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
Airport operation costs exceeding revenue is normal, she said.
This year it was $680,000 in the red and in 1999 it was at $477,000, which could be the price to pay to have an estimated 100,000 travelers use the airport each year. Many of those people are tourists spending their money in the county, Stahoviak said.
However, county commissioners do not want the cost to run the airport to escalate out of control, she said.
In the future, a set amount of subsidization from the county could be set to try to control the spending at the airport, Stahoviak said.
It's difficult to pay for staff and operations at the airport when the bulk of the work that needs to be done is in the four months of the ski season, Parker said.
"And we don't get much help from the valley," he said.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and businesses with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association have deals with airlines to bring the flights to Routt County, but no one helps with operating expenses, Parker said.
The Montrose Regional Airport is one of the few county-owned airports that makes a profit, Montrose Airport Office Administrator Rhonda Mead said.
The main reason Montrose can run in the black is because the county owns the Fixed Base Operations (FBO), Mead said. That division sells fuel to the airlines, making a big profit for the airport, she said.
The FBO at Yampa Valley Regional is privately owned by Spectrum Jet Services. It sells all the fuel and the county gets a small portion of the profits, Stahoviak said.
"Right now, we have to either cut expenses or increase revenues," she said.
Cutting the operations division was one way to reduced the expenses, while looking at the fees that airlines have to pay could be a way to increase revenues, Stahoviak said.
As operations supervisor, Ver Haar's last day is Friday, Parker said. Ver Haar couldn't be reached for comment.