by barbara anne greene
Airport Manager Carl Meyer discussed his 2016 budget during the most recent meeting of the Big Horn County Commission.
“At the last commission meeting we had opened up a discussion about using some of the funds that we still have in place because of reduced fuel costs and a few other things … maybe transferring those over to the grants budget to help fund those,” said Meyer.
He then sought the commission’s permission to start moving those funds.
“On the grant spreadsheet you’ll see that the commissioners last year decided not to fund the apron project. A line item was created, but no funding,” he said. Meyer added that the crack seal project came in 60 percent less than anticipated, so some funds are available there.
The commissioners agreed to allow the funds to be moved.
Meyer also updated the commission on the airport water line. “We attended the Greybull Town Council meeting last week,” he said. “We listened to the presentation of the town’s engineer on the water line.”
Included in the packet Meyer provided was some funding models for the water line from the engineer.
One model would just have the county making a supplemental payment to the town each year for about $11,000. “We currently have a loan with WYDOT for the hanger and infrastructure that has a loan payment of about $39,000 a year,” he said. “The engineer also brought forward the thought of just giving Big Horn County credit for that payment as our contribution to the water line.”
Commission Chairman Jerry Ewen said, “We’ve had some questions about that, didn’t we?” Meyer responded that the questions dealt with how to break down the $39,000 payment. “It is for everything. The hanger, the infrastructure, the tank … how would you divide that payment up to just take credit for the tank and infrastructure.”
Meyer added nothing is written in stone. The application for the loan/grant will be completed by the town of Greybull. “We would not be a co-sponsor so our commitment would just be a payment to the town,” he said.
Hyde asked Meyer, “Out of the total cost, how much do they want us to pay?” Meyer said in excess of $100,000 with a 66 percent/33 percent split. Hyde said he wasn’t sure the county’s benefit was worth that but would like more information.
“Once we get some more of these numbers solidified I will have more answers. Just wanted to bring it forward because the town is starting to have these conversations again as they get into their budget season. It was tabled last September and it is going to be back on our table again sooner than later.”
Hyde added “I just think the benefit to the town is much greater than it is to us.”
Ewen said that the county should consider the potential growth of the airport. If economic growth resulted, the benefit to the county would be greater. Carrizales added “And Greybull is in the county so it would be a benefactor to us as well.”
Meyer said he would fill out a sheet with pros and cons for the commissioners to review.
Meyer also discussed the Cowley Apron Project. It has moved to the design stage with three proposals being brought forward per Meyer. “One of the design options seems to be more appropriate for the integration with Master Plan as well as the available funding.”
The main point that Meyer wanted to bring forth is that a dark portion on the drawing he provided would be funded by the FFA.
“Long story short, we have an apron that is this size and after the government spends $1 million to rebuild our ramp, it will be this sized.” He said there would be additional parking off to the west so it will mitigate the loss of asphalt but there isn’t much room for discussion. “The FFA said you need a new ramp, here are our standards, so this is what you get.”
“The only part of this that needs to come before the commissioners sooner rather than later is this stretch between the new asphalt and hanger. It is a 40-foot-wide strip that cannot be funded by the FFA.” He said WYDOT recognizes that this is not what is needed so there is some discussion right now about a secondary grant being approved for the paving of the 40-foot strip.” This discussion is occurring now at the state level.
“The caveat is that there is a 15-foot rule so it would only be a 25-foot strip.”
Hyde asked for clarification of the 15-foot rule. Meyer explained it as a rule from the FFA. “Their thought is you have federal funds and you have a private hanger. They feel that the hanger owner should be responsible for the 15 feet of asphalt or concrete to get to the public apron. Just like the street in front of your house. The town is not going to pay for the paving of your driveway.”
He said that the FFA had recently amended to the rule to 40 feet but that WYDOT was using the old standard for their funding.
The final item Meyer talked about was an upcoming airport tour. “The WYDOT Aeronautics Commission is traveling throughout the state in May to tour selected airports.” The Greybull airport was chosen as one they are going to visit.
The Commissioners also heard from Joy Hill-Land Planning, Kimberly Cowan-Public Health and Kim Adams-County Attorney.
The next meeting is April 7, 2015.