Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Airport board considers building more T-hangars

Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012 4:00 am
Robin Y. Richardson, Marshall News Messenger

The airport advisory board is embarking on a new project — the construction of 10 new T-hangars — as a possibility to bring in more revenue for the county.

“Because of the encouragement of several people here, we started to look at building 10 new T-hangars and how we could possibly pay the county match,” Harrison County Judge Hugh Taylor informed at a recent airport advisory board meeting.

This will be an addition to the other 10 T-hangars that were constructed in 2010. During that time, the project was paid for with 80 percent of federal and state funding. The county paid the other 20 percent from oil and gas revenues and timber sales from the airport property, which have to be spent on airport improvements.

Judge Taylor said last fall, he approached David Fulton, the director of the aviation division for Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), about the idea of constructing 10 new T-hangars. Fulton informed him that the project could be funded by a 90/10 grant from TxDOT, meaning the county would have to come up with 10 percent of the total project cost.

Taylor said 18 people are already on the waiting list to rent out a T-hangar. He proposed that the county’s matching portion could be financed by locals who want to participate.

“We’re faced with extraordinary circumstances where with a unique financing arrangement, we may could have the locals who want to participate put up our matching portion,” said Taylor. He said with TxDOT’s approval, the county could then pay back participants out of the revenue generated from the rental of the hangars.

“(This) means our airport funds will not be exhausted one penny,” explained Taylor.

Ken Carlile, interim chairman on the advisory board, said the financing is something new and productive.

“Essentially, I offered and others have offered to finance it on that 10 percent,” said Carlile. “We’re trying to do this where we can’t go back to the county funds, so we’re real encouraged that this will work.”

Taylor said he informed TxDOT of their intentions.

“I sent a letter of intent already to TxDOT with a blurb in there about this may require TxDOT aviation division approval to finance this project in this manner,” said Taylor. “Of course their concern is the match, which they will get in cash from local participants and then we will pay local participants back out of revenue and only out of revenue.”

Taylor noted that they have put a two-year delay on the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) for terminal renovations in order to squeeze in the T-hangar project.

“Because it’s a revenue project, we need the revenue,” he said. “I don’t have hundreds of thousands in the bank account to renovate this building, so I put the revenue project first.”

He said Sandra Braden with TxDOT approved.

“She actually indicated they may can get the T-hangar project in the 2013 (tasks) because of our willingness to move the other CIP out two years,” he said. “We had to do it to get the revenue project in front of the others.”

“She indicated to me we needed to get it done immediately because the 2013 pool would already be assigned… there wouldn’t be any CIP money there for the T-hangars so I just typed up the letter.

“I think we’d be successful,” he said.

Source:  http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com

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