A lack of renters is impacting the bottom line at the Pratt Regional Airport.

A lack of renters continues to impact the bottom line at the Pratt Regional Airport. The airport showed a $10,000 loss for last month, said Airport Manager Reid Bell at the Pratt Airport Authority Board of Directors meeting Oct. 12. Board members present were Chairman Tim Barker, Secretary Deb Zang and member Skye Bare.

With the loss of several renters and the cost of building repairs, airport revenues are down and making it difficult to cover all the bills.

The airport is looking at the possibility of renting ground to a solar wind company but there are concerns about the cost of land rental. The city, that owns the airport, wants to rent the ground for $100 an acre but Airport Manager Reid Bell said rent for a business would be more like $350 an acre.

The company wants to rent 182 acres for 25 years. Bell said it would be good for the airport if they could get the entire 25 years of rent up front.

More work has to be done on this deal and Bell will keep the Board appraised of progress.

Some payments will be coming to the airport from Precision Ag that still owes money to the airport. Precision Ag has agreed to pay the airport $250 a week until their debt if paid off.

Another company, GLM, that builds and maintains oil field meters, gas fittings and repairs units, has a For Rent sign on their door.

The airport is applying for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant to replace the fuel system on the airport. They tried to get the grant last year but were turned down. The projected cost of replacing the fuel system is $600,000. If they can get the grant, KDOT will pay 85 percent of the cost of the project. Bell said he would keep the Board updated on the application.

The airport did get a different KDOT grant for improving the apron. The total cost of that project is $225,000 with the airport share at $59,000.

Engineering for a water main extension to the airport is underway with EBH Engineering of Pratt working on the project. The water main will connect with the water line that was extended from the city to provide water to the Pratt Energy Ethanol Plant. It is uncertain when construction on the project will begin.

The extension will allow the airport to shut down a water well at the airfield. There has been a nitrate problem with water at the airport for many years and they have had to bring in outside water for drinking. If the airport doesn't shut the well down, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will shut it down for them, Bell said.

In a cost saving move, new breaker boxes in the former John Deere facility main building have been replaced. Replacing the boxes will allow the airport to keep previous insurance rates that are lower than if the boxes had not been replace, Bell said.