A proposed 2012 budget that would provide just over half the money the Grider Field Municipal Airport needs to match a state grant was turned down Monday by the Traffic and Aviation Committee of the Pine Bluff City Council.

A proposed 2012 budget that would provide just over half the money the Grider Field Municipal Airport needs to match a state grant was turned down Monday by the Traffic and Aviation Committee of the Pine Bluff City Council.

Instead, the committee voted to approve the budget with the stipulation that the city council find the additional funding to cover the remainder of the grant.

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr., had proposed a budget of $177,874 for the airport next year, an increase of $51,874 more than the 2011 budget, but less than what Aviation Commission members and committee members said had been agreed on.

Included in that budget is a 4.1 percent cost of living increase for airport employees, and $45,000 of the total needed to match the grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, leaving a shortfall of $43,000.

In explaining his recommendation, Redus said he had to present a balanced budget and as he has in the past, recommended that the Aviation Commission take money from their own budget to make up the balance.

Defending his position, Redus said it was like having $100,000 in a pot and $135,000 in requests from various departments.

“We can’t fund everything, and it would be unfair to some of the other departments that don’t have a revenue source (like the airport does),” Redus said. “We funded what we could in order to have a balanced budget.”

Alderman Glen Brown, chairman of the council committee, said if they didn’t find the additional money, the budget wouldn’t pass.

In September, the council adopted a resolution pledging the city would pay its 20 percent share of the project to remodel the terminal at the airport, which was built in the 1960s and has not undergone a significant remodel since.

Phase two of the project had been on hold since 2010 when Redus said the city couldn’t afford its share of the match, and earlier this year, made the same argument which was rejected by council members who adopted the resolution by a vote of 8-0.

“We thought at this point, funding for this would be a moot point,” Aviation Commission Member Ken Johnson said. “We’ve got to come up with the additional money. Eighty thousand dollars was approved and we thought it would be included in this budget. This is two years old and we want to get it resolved.”

Aviation Commission Chairman Dr. Clarence Rittelmeyer also attended the committee meeting and echoed Johnson’s feelings, noting that the airport may not be able to apply for additional grants unless it finishes the remodeling project.

Redus explained that while it is his job to submit a budget, the city council has the final authority to approve it as is, reject it, or make changes to it.

“I hope the council doesn’t pass it without finding the other $43,000,” Redus said. “There are other options they can look at like the reserve fund, the revolving fund, or even out of the sales tax money. It’s important to find the additional dollars to complete this project.”

With the additional funding to cover the entire grant, the 2012 budget for the airport will be $220,874.

Alderman Charles Boyd introduced the resolution to approve Redus’ proposed budget with the stipulation requiring that the council find the additional money, which was seconded by Alderman Steven Mays.

“The airport is a major project and we need to be supportive of it,” Mays said.

“We appreciate the support of the council,” Johnson said. “We’ve been looking at things three years in the past and we should be looking at things three years ahead.”