Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sloulin Field International Airport (KISN), Williston, North Dakota

City makes changes at airport 

The city of Williston recently signed a letter thanking Great Lakes Airlines for more than two decades of service.

“Great Lakes provided services when no one else could or would for a long time,” Steven Kjergaard, the airport manager at Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston, said Wednesday.

The Wyoming-based regional airline announced earlier in the month it was suspending its services to Williston and Dickinson. In January, it pulled out of Devils Lake and Jamestown.

The airline couldn’t find pilots to staff flights and was having trouble regularly operating its flights, Kjergaard said.

With Great Lakes leaving, Kjergaard said space is now open in the new city hangar.

“The best fit for that is our fixed-base operated on the field Williston jet,” Kjergaard said in a city commissioner briefing. “This lease will supersede their previous one and be a term of five years for an amount of $14,000 per month.”

The city commission approved the recommendation and two others proposed by the airport manager, involving a lease transfer of car rental services and an update to land leasing costs.

The airport manager was unable to determine how current land leasing prices were determined.

“This is due to none of the square footage rates being the same as well as the current lease descriptions clearly stating what area is being rented,” Kjergaard said.

However, the issue will be corrected as the airport manager plans to add a map to each lease showing the areas rented, and each rate will be the same.

The commission approved his recommendation that the annual hangar rates increase from a range of 2 cents to 4 cents per square foot to 22.5 cents per square foot on Jan. 1, 2015.

“The percentage increase is pretty substantial...,” Kjergaard said. “Realistically, it’s not much compared to what it could be.”

The commission also approved recommendations to increase monthly rates of city-owned hangars from $52 to $100, and non-city owned hangars from an average of $90 to $150.

Commissioner Chris Brostuen asked if the current rates were adequate to fund maintenance.

“They don’t cover anything,” Kjergaard said, adding the increases will cover electricity, snow removal and upkeep.

He added the city last increased the rates in the late 1990s.

“It seems so cheap,” Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk said relating the rates to those of storage spaces.

Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl said the city had issues with hangar usage several years ago, with people using the space as private storage since the leases were so cheap.

In related news, Kjergaard said the owner of Priceless Care Rental requested to transfer his lease agreement to Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company.

The commission approved the transfer contingent on the city attorney reviewing the matter.