Saturday, January 24, 2015

DuBois Regional Airport (KDUJ) Authority approves land sale

REYNOLDSVILLE - Members of Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority approved the sale of two parcels of land at yesterday's meeting.

Cactus Wellhead has purchased a 5.05-acre piece of property located adjacent to the section it currently owns at a cost of $126,250. The company, which was the first to purchase property in the airport's air commerce park, manufactures pressure controlled equipment used in natural gas drilling and production operations. Its parent company is located in Houston, Texas.

The authority will retain all mineral rights to the property. The land covenant associated with the acreage allows buildings to be constructed on the parcel provided they are in keeping with the airport's zoning restrictions.

The second piece of land is located across from the air commerce park along state Route 830. The 5.21-acre parcel has both a large wetland and a stream running through it and is not suitable for building. Corbin Holdings LLC, an adjacent property owner, is buying the acreage at a cost of $6,600 - the land value as determined by certified appraisal. The authority and Corbin will equally share the mineral rights with the property.

Robert Shaffer, manager, said the Corbin Holdings LLC land purchase has been in negotiations for a year while requirements for the sale established by the federal Aviation Administration were being met.

Approving the sale were Jeff Bellmore, Jay Chamberlin, Gene Mineweaser, Judy Mitchell, Rick Wise and Joe Varacallo, members. Joe Barber and David Stern were absent. A vacancy currently exists on the board.

The declining number of passengers utilizing the airport was discussed, with members stating they want to develop a plan for bringing travelers back. About 1,000 less used DuBois Regional Airport in 2014 than in 2013, with the total number for the year at just more than 4,000.

Shaffer said to continue with essential air service, where the cost of flights is federally subsidized, the airport must maintain a level of 10,000 passengers per year.

Mineweaser asked whether the authority could seek a grant for marketing the airport as it received several years ago when it hired a marketing coordinator and offered rebates to those flying out of the airport. He said the authority was able to track what type of traveler was utilizing the airport through a survey associated with the rebate, adding he thinks it is important to know who is using the airport for traveling.

Shaffer said the grant is still available but the pot of money is much smaller and the authority would need to come up with a new plan for spending any grant funds received.

Varacallo said he would like the authority to create a 3 to 5- year business plan and include plans for marketing and building passenger numbers. He volunteered to be part of a committee to develop a plan.

Shaffer said former authority member, Loren Bishop, is working to create an advisory group that could assist the authority in making the airport more progressive and productive.

Members approved extending a line of credit for $300,000 for three years with Community First Bank at an interest rate of 3.25 percent. Chamberlin, who is employed by the bank, abstained from the vote.

The money will be used to pay for any projects to be paid for with federal or state grants. Shaffer said using the line of credit allows the contractor to be paid while the authority waits for reimbursement from federal or state agencies.

The authority will pay the interest on the money used with income from its passenger facilities charge.

A decision made by the authority's executive committee to purchase property insurance coverage and an inland marine policy from Traveler's Insurance through Matson Insurance Agency, Brookville, was ratified by members. The cost is $28,971, about $1,150 less than the amount paid last year.

The authority held a reorganizational meeting prior to yesterday's business meeting ratifying the nominating committee's recommendation to elect Wise, representing Jefferson County, chairman and Mitchell, representing Clearfield County, assistant secretary/treasurer.

Both were approved by unanimous vote.

They join Jefferson County representatives, Barber as vice chairman and Chamberlin as secretary/treasurer. The other authority members are Bellmore, Stern and Varacallo, representing Clearfield County, and Mineweaser, representing Jefferson County.

A vacant seat representing Clearfield County currently exists.

Members approved retaining Robert Hanak of DuBois, solicitor; and GAI Consultants, DuBois, engineer.

Members also ratified all actions taken by the authority in 2014.

The authority's next meeting is Feb. 27 at 8:30 a.m. at DuBois Regional Airport's conference room.  

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