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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • City Commission approves funds for airport

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  • The Pratt Regional Airport will receive a $50,000 boost to help replenish their reserve funds.
    The Pratt City Commissioners voted four in favor and one against to give the Airport Authority the funds during their regular Monday night commission meeting.
    Commissioner Karen Detwiler and other commissioners were concerned that the bid for the RedMan building did not follow the proper process.
    The bid was given to the same company that had done previous work because they had the previous low bid and local businesses weren't interested, said Airport Manager Reid Bell.
    Detwiler said she was concerned the bid process might violate state and federal antitrust laws and was the only no vote on the matter.
    Bell requested the funds after the Airport Authority took funds from their reserve funds to facilitate the construction of a 10,000 square foot warehouse facility for airport tenant RedMan.
    The Authority approved $284,000 thousand for the entire project. The request for the facility was made with urgency along with the suggestion that RedMan would relocate elsewhere it the accommodations couldn't be completed in three months, Bell said in a letter to the commissioners.
    Another reason for the urgency of construction was an across the board large increase in prices in the metal building industry.
    The Airport Authority also took out a $300,000 bank loan to pay for in anticipation of further projects like the RedMan project.
    They are also looking ahead to an upcoming $4 million terminal project in three to four years. The project would include new hangers, moving the fuel island and replacing failed concrete, Bell said.
    The Airport Authority is also asking Economic Development for $50,000 and the county for $50,000 as well.
    Economic Development had certain criteria before they would give the money. RedMan has to have 15 employees. They have 14 and are expected to hire No. 15 any day, Bell said.
    The County commissioners are waiting to see what the City Commissioners decide to do before committing to $50,000.
    The $150,000 from the city, county and Economic Development will help the Airport Authority maintain leverage $1.5 million for Federal Airport Improvement Program projects grants.
    The revenue generated at the airport is conservatively estimates at over $84 million in annual gross sales and $8 million in payroll. Without the improvements over the last several years the airport could not enjoy the current business traffic.
    Another reason for the fund request is if a $100 uses fee for every take off and landing is improved under the new administration. It would cause a decrease in general aviation, Bell said.
    Currently the Airport Authority has $300,000 in debt service.

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