The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, May. 24, 2022

City Council hears airport funding request

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council received another funding request during its meeting on Monday. The request, from the Van Wert County Airport Authority Board, comes just weeks before Council begins the task of putting together a temporary budget for 2016.

Van Wert County Airport Authority Board Vice President Randy Thompson speaks to City Council about a funding request being sought to help pay for an automated credit card system for fuel purchases at the airport. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert County Airport Authority Board Vice President Randy Thompson speaks to City Council about a funding request being sought to help pay for an automated credit card system for fuel purchases at the airport. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Randy Thompson, vice president of the Airport Authority Board, came to Council with a request for funding to help pay for an automated credit card payment system pilots can use to purchase fuel at the airport.

Thompson noted that the system would cost between $33,000 and $38,000, adding that the airport board is asking the city to pay half of that cost: $16,500 to $19,000. The new funding request comes on top of an earlier request for $21,000 the airport board is seeking to help defray its normal annual expenses.

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners also contributes a similar amount, and will be asked to help pay for the credit card system.

Thompson noted that adding the credit card system should increase revenues at the airport by allowing pilots to purchase fuel after regular business hours. Currently, pilots must travel to another airport for after-hours fuel needs.

Thompson added that, because the system is automated, the additional revenues would not increase operational costs at the airport, since no one would need to be there to assist with fuel purchases.

He also noted that fuel purchases are already one of the largest revenue makers at the airport, with the new credit card system expected to significantly increase that amount.

The requests for city funding are in addition to grants the airport receives for specific projects, such as the $110,000 awarded earlier this month for apron and taxiway work. Thompson did note, though, that the airport is planning on a number of improvements over the next few years, including a new terminal building and the extension of the current runway by 1,000 feet to accommodate larger business jets that area companies use.

Third Ward Councilman Jerry Mazur, a former airport manager, wondered whether improvements would also be needed for the existing runway to handle the heavier weight of larger jets, while Councilman At-Large Stan Agler asked that the airport board put its funding request in writing so that City Council could more easily review the request when it begins the 2016 budget process during a Finance Committee meeting on October 12.

Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming also provided an update on railroad crossing work planned for this week, as well as the West Main Street reconstruction project.

Fleming noted that all railroad crossings from Market and Wayne streets would be closed starting Wednesday, except for the Franklin Street crossing. Reconstruction would first begin on the Wayne Street crossing, which would then be opened and the Franklin Street crossing closed for repairs.

Railroad crossings to be reconstructed next week include those on North Walnut, North Cherry and North Tyler streets, while crossings on North Market, North Race, North Franklin and North Wayne streets will be reconstructed and also receive new warning lights and crossing gates.

In addition, crossings on North Chestnut, North Harrison and North Vine streets will be permanently closed.

Mayor Don Farmer said new ties would be installed at all the crossings, even those being closed, to ensure safety for trains moving through the city.

Fleming also noted that the driveways and curbs have been poured on West Main Street and that final paving of the street should occur in approximately two weeks.

Legislatively, City Council read for the first time an ordinance to change parking on Burt Street, from the railroad tracks south to Main Street, from the east side of the street to the west side. The advisory vote on the measure was 5-2, with Streets & Alleys Committee Chair Steve Trittschuh and Councilman At-Large Jon Tomlinson opposed. Tomlinson stated at the last Council meeting that he opposes making parking changes to accommodate just one resident of a street.

POSTED: 09/29/15 at 7:36 am. FILED UNDER: News