Leaving on a jet plane

Sedgwick County commissioners on Wednesday will consider a transportation service agreement with the City of Wichita that involves subsidies to AirTran and Frontier.

In August, commissioners approved a new contract with AirTran, granting a one-year subsidy of up to $6.5 million for the airline. The state covered $5 million of that through a grant, with the county and city splitting the difference.

In addition, the county has a revenue guarantee with Frontier to pay up to $500,000 a year.

A local match of $1.67 million is required to secure state funding, county chief financial officer Chris Chronis says in a memo to commissioners. However, he said, $2 million in local funding commitment is necessary (on top of the $5 million from the state) to cover contract obligations for AirTran and Frontier for the 12 months ending June 30, 2009.

The proposed city-county contract that commissioners will review Wednesday would provide up to $1 million of city funding to partially offset the county’s $2 million obligation.

Chronis has recommended that commissioners approve the contract. The county can reject the city-county agreement, but the county’s obligations to AirTran and Frontier would stick.