Monday, March 19, 2012

Contract for Hickory airport fuel depot up for approval

A private plane taxis into the Hickory FBO at the Hickory Regional Airport

By: | Hickory Daily Record

HICKORY NC --  The City of Hickory is ready to build a second fuel farm at the Hickory Regional Airport.

The second fuel depot was part of the plan Hickory presented to a federal bankruptcy court when it successfully petitioned the court to become the service provider and take over sole control of the airport.

The city petitioned the court when the former service provider Riverhawk Aviation could not fulfill its responsibilities and could not form a plan of recover to the satisfaction of the court.

The Hickory City Council is expected to award the fuel farm construction contract at tonight’s meeting at City Hall at 7 p.m.

After reviewing construction proposals received during the bidding process, the city staff will recommend the contract go to Eaglewood Inc. for $778,252. A state grant from the Department of Aviation VISION 100 program will provide $700,427 for the project. The city’s share is $77,825.

According to a news release from Hickory, construction of an aviation fuel farm is needed “to ensure a reliable supply of Jet-A and Av-Gas fuel for airport customers, with the addition of 24-hour self-service for Av-Gas fuel. The airport will also have the additional capacity to store more fuel that will enable the city to purchase large quantities, giving the airport the capacity to extend lower and more competitive fuel prices to its customers.”

Part of the city’s revenue from the airport is through fuel sales. Another primary source of income is hangar rental. Hickory is looking to contract for aircraft maintenance.

Eaglewood Inc. is in Denver, NC.

Hickory took over as the fixed-base operator of the airport on Dec. 9.

The council also is expected to approve a volunteer retirement incentive program.

According to a news release, “Due to economic conditions negatively impacting city revenue and with the city facing a difficult budget year in FY 2013-14, staff would like to achieve savings through a second voluntary retirement incentive program.”

The program would be offered to city employees who are eligible to retire between July 1 and Oct. 1. The city has 84 employees out of its full-time workforce of 616 who qualify. City officials say they will be offered a cash incentive of 50 percent of their annual base salary, but participants must retire between July 1 – the beginning of the next budget year – and Oct. 1.

“In addition, participants may receive city-paid individual health insurance for 6 months from time of retirement if they meet eligibility requirements,” city officials said. They said although not everyone eligible will participate, it is anticipated that some workers will accept the offer and that will reduce personnel costs and leaving some positions vacant.

The report to the council states the number of participants in the program won’t be known until after the Sept. 19 acceptance deadline. The city offered a similar early retirement program in 2009.

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