City of Steamboat Springs shopping for new airport hangar | SteamboatToday.com

City of Steamboat Springs shopping for new airport hangar

Scott Franz

An advertisement from Colorado Group Realty shows the location of the G-2 hangar the city of Steamboat Springs wants to purchase for transient aircraft rentals.

— The city of Steamboat Springs wants to purchase a new hangar at Bob Adams Field to better serve pilots who pass through the municipal airport.

New airport manager Stacy Fain thinks a new city-owned hangar would also help the airport generate more revenue.

City staff is recommending that the city pay for the $310,000 hangar by taking out a loan from its general fund and paying it back within 20 years at an interest rate of 3 percent.

According to statistics provided by Fain, more transient aircraft passed through the airport last year than in 2014 and 2015.

"One of the most important services (general aviation) customers are looking for is they need to know that they can hangar their aircraft during inclement weather and they are willing to pay for it …" Fain wrote in a presentation she will give to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night.

The council will ultimately decide whether to invest in the new hangar.

Recommended Stories For You

The 2,820-square-foot, heated hangar is being advertised for $375,000

Currently, the city has share agreements with some hangar owners at the airport, and the city splits the revenue generated by short-term hangar rentals.

Through early December, pilots paid $17,080 for their short-term hangar rentals, with the total being split between the city and the owners.

The revenue collected last year was on track to be lower than the $21,545 in hangar rental revenue posted in 2015.

The data showed a decline in 2016 hangar rental bookings and revenue compared to 2015.

But Fain included a caveat in the sales pitch she will give to council.

"This data does not include aircraft we have turned away or much in the way of summer rentals, as the shared hangars are generally not available that time of year, and we do not currently have a summer hangar rate that general aviation customers are willing to pay," Fain wrote.

City staff estimates its revenue from short-term hangar rentals would increase with the city not having to split with other hangar owners.

Short-term hangar rentals have been a source of controversy at the city's airport in recent years.

A Steamboat Today review of the short-term hangar rental records dating back to 2011 found that some pilots had received thousands of dollars in unauthorized discounts.

The review found several irregularities, including cases in which airport staff charged some pilots significantly less for their stays at the airport than other pilots of the same type of aircraft who rented the same hangar at the same time of year.

The discounts were offered despite the city's approved hangar rental rates being static.

The discounts were never approved by the city manager, and emails show they were a cause for concern at City Hall.

Fain, who took over airport management in December after the firing of former manager Adam Kittinger, said she was working with consultants to study the airport's hangar rental rates and fees. She said changes could be proposed in the future.

Fain said airport employees who offered the discounts were trying to provide the best customer service.

Fain will tell the council on Tuesday there have been two camps with regard to what pilots need at the city's airport.

One thinks building a longer runway will attract more pilots, while another feels better services will attract them, Fain wrote in her presentation.

"I am in the second camp," she said. "I have nearly 30 years of experience in aviation, and it has become clear to me that they want to come to KSBS, and they will, if we establish a consistent level of service that pilots can count on when they come the KSBS."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

City Council agenda highlights for Jan. 3, 2017

In addition to the presentation on a potential hangar purchase, City Council will consider the following items.

• Appoint members to a new committee that will recommend how to spend excess lodging tax revenue.

• Approve $439,900 in community support funding

• Discuss the future of the historic Arnold Barn.

• Discuss the latest on the lawsuit against the city about the approval of a downtown apartment project.

View the full agenda here.