Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to approve the expenditure of $632,906 from Yampa Valley Regional Airport's capital fund for a new snowblower to keep the runways clear during winter.
Airport manager Dave Ruppel said Tuesday that plans have been in place for more than a decade to replace an older snowblower with funds from the self-sustaining airport's capital budget.
“For us, it’s a critical piece of equipment,” Ruppel said. “Both of our snowblowers are used pretty much continuously during a big snowstorm. And we can’t just plow and let snow pile up on the edges of the runways where it might snag an airplane wing.
Ruppel said Routt County saved about $200,000 on the price of the Oshkosh snowblower and related engineering charges by piggybacking it onto an order of 13 snowblowers by Denver International Airport.
YVRA puts future capital expenses in its budget 20 years out and then begins planning for them in detail 10 years ahead, Ruppel said. The snowblower purchase already had been delayed for a couple of years, and he took the opportunity to attach the new machine to DIA’s purchase before capital needs began to pile up.
The older machine being replaced by the new snowblower dates to about 1993 and is beginning to require expensive maintenance.
“It still works great, but it’s at the point when it’s requiring more maintenance than we’d like,” Ruppel said.
The county will offer it for sale through a program organized by the state of Colorado, and Ruppel expects it to sell for $50,000 to $60,000 to a smaller general aviation airport that doesn’t work its snowblowers as hard as YVRA must.
Ruppel said he does not expect the new snowblower to be delivered before the first of the year. In the interim, the older machine will continue to be used.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com