The Big Bear Airport District has taken one more step in the process to build a new terminal building. At its July 8 meeting, the board of directors unanimously authorized general manager Ryan Goss to sign an agreement with Columbia Capital to provide the district with funding advice for the project and the district.

Goss won’t be signing the letter yet, though. He reported to the board that he received information from other local agencies about additional financing options that may be available for the project. Goss said he will investigate the options before signing the agreement. It’s possible Columbia Capital could research the options and include in funding recommendations.

Board member Bill Goddard said he would like to see data, financing interest rates and design documents on the table for the board to review. He told the board he thinks it is more important to move forward with a hangar project rather than a terminal building.

Board member Rick Seifert said that the ad hoc committee is gathering the information to present to the board for the final decision on design and financing for the terminal building. “We’re not making decisions here,” Seifert said. “This is the process.”

Board member Wes Krause wanted to know if the district is required to hire an outside financial consultant. Michael Williams of Columbia Capital said that it wasn’t a requirement but is highly recommended.

“The reason is that there are many opportunities for the district to get financing,” Williams said. “This financing should be tailored specifically for the district. My objective is to make sure you get a very fair deal.” His company is experienced in federal tax law, funding requirements for public agencies and the various sources of funding public agencies can seek.

Williams also clarified that the municipal bond option is not a bond measure that would be a taxpayer obligation, but a direct bond that would be the district’s obligation. Goss and board president Steve Castillo still agreed they were not in favor of a bond option.

Castillo stressed that no financial decision has been made and won’t be made without full board review and consent. There are several steps in the planning process still to be done, including submitting the design plans to the San Bernardino County Public Works Department for review and comments. Once the county gives the project its stamp of approval, Knight Building Systems will be able to give a better estimate to the cost of the project for the board to consider.

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