District One Commissioner Keith Davis inquired about the current monthly tie-down rate of $25 per plane after a standard lease for Boyce Chambers came before the board for approval.
“Are we getting, in your opinion, what we should be getting comparable to other airports as far as square footage per dollar amount on these hangars?” Davis asked county engineer David Edgil.
Edgil replied that the local rates are “far below the standard for the industry.”
He added that the fees collected from aircraft owners are the only way to generate revenue for the airport and are not sufficient to fund the facility.
“We have to pull from the road and bridge fund to supplement the airport on a yearly basis,” Edgil said.
Davis said the county also pays a part-time employee out of the road and bridge fund to maintain the grounds at the airport and his district provides the fuel for the tractor used to cut grass.
Davis then asked his fellow commissioners to look into raising rates at the airport.
“I don’t like increasing rates, of course, but if these are not comparable to what other airports charge, this might help us offset some of the county expenses that road and bridge and also District One is incurring,” Davis said.
After noting that the lease brought before the commission was for a period of 20 years, Davis said the county’s attorney would have to determine if current leases must come up for renewal before rates could be adjusted at each hangar.
“I think that most of your lessees would be willing because they know that the revenue generated would go back toward improving the airport,” Edgil said.
Edgil also pointed out the need for additional hangars at the airport.
Edgil said the county only has one site left to lease for construction of new hangars.
He added that there has been a demand at other airports for T-hangars and the county has already used federal money to prepare sites for the hangars.
“If the commission was interested, you could probably get enough contracts to build 10 to 15 T-hangars that would pay for themselves without any money coming from the road and bridge fund or borrowing money,” Edgil said.
The lease agreement for Boyce Chambers was approved.
In other action, the commission:
•approved purchasing a Bobcat skid-steer loader from the National Joint Powers Alliance, a cooperative that sells to education, government and other nonprofit entities.
The equipment is valued at approximately $76,000.
•approved J.C. Poe Jr.’s application for membership to the Walker County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
•was approached by web consultant Mike Lee concerning the county’s website.
Lee offered his services to the county as a result of the retirement of current webmaster Lanny Capps.