Winsted City Council Minutes
City of Winsted
Joint City Council & Airport Commission
August 14, 2007
Present: Mayor Steve Stotko
Council Member Tom Wiemiller
Council Member Bonnie Quast
Council Member Dave Mochinski
Russ Paschke Airport Commission
Clyde Kaelberer Airport Commission
Dave Millerbernd Airport Commission
Kevin Kubasch Airport Commission
Ralph Diers Airport Commission
Absent: Council Member Tom Ollig
Carol Kappel Airport Commission
Arden Johnson Airport Commission
Brian Moorhead Airport Commission
Felix Quast Airport Commission
Staff Present: Brent Mareck, City Administrator
Raquel Kirchoff, Administrative Assistant
Fran Eggert, City Attorney
1) Mayor Stotko called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.
a) The Pledge of Allegiance was taken.
2) No Consent Agenda.
3) No Public Hearings.
4) No Old Business.
5) New Business
a) Winsted Municipal Airport Fund
Mareck presented the Airport Fund History and 2008 Budget Information. See the PowerPoint presentation handout titled “Winsted Municipal Airport Joint Meeting, Airport Commission and the City Council, August 14, 2007, 5:00 p.m.” Mochinski requested Airport Commission input from the presentation.
Questions were asked about the cost of fire protection listed. Mareck stated that hangars and mobile homes, for example, are counted as a 1⁄2 unit and businesses and residential homes are counted as one (1) unit. A specific question asked was if the $5,861 fire protection cost listed in the presentation is an expense to the airport fund, above and beyond the fire protection costs that should be paid for in personal property tax. Mareck responded that it is not and that it was listed when considering all the costs that are applied to the operation of the airport.
Ralph Diers suggested that the City’s general fund should be a revenue source for the airport. Council members Quast and Mochinski stated that they would like to see the airport fund itself. Discussion was held to understand why the airport was in a deficit and how other airports operated. Mareck informed the group that the City had called other airports and that most of the responses given were that they were funded in part by the general fund. Dave Millerbernd stated that if the City were to ask MNDOT how other airports operate, they would explain that 90% of the airports don’t fund themselves and that general funds supply the fund deficits. The City Council needs to decide how much the airport is worth to Winsted and consider that a paved runway would bring more value to the airport and generate more revenue for Winsted with the increased traffic.
The group agreed a decision must be made to proceed with the improvements or not, mainly because of the deadline of August 31, 2007 to accept the grant funding. Kevin Kubasch explained that he had spoken with Benita Crow, SEH, and he does not want to proceed with the turf rehabilitation this year for the following reasons:
Ø The airport would be closed for too long (could be up to 1 ½ year).
Ø No funding exists, with the current deficit, for the match of the grant.
Russ Paschke agreed with Kubasch and feels that money spent within two (2) separate years to make runway improvements (turf rehabilitation and then paving the runway) would be more costly. He would rather do the paving right away.
Mayor Stotko questioned if the City declined the grant money, would that cause setbacks on the grant process when the City reapplied. Kubasch responded that Crow had informed him that the grant money depends on how many applications are received within a year.
Those present agreed to decline the grant offer for runway improvements in 2007 but to reapply for them in 2008.
Possible Revenue Sources
Mareck requested that ideas be given on revenue sources. He mentioned the ideas from the presentation of an airport access charge which would be charged to new hangar owners, similar to new constructions within the City paying a WAC (water access charge) and SAC (sewer access charge), and also a general fund transfer to clear the deficit. He informed the group that if a general fund transfer is going to be done, the levy amount needs to be set by September 4, 2007 to be included on the preliminary property tax statements. If the amount decided on is too high, that amount can be lowered before January 1, 2008; however, if the amount decided on is too low, it cannot be raised after the preliminary tax statement deadline of September 4, 2007.
Quast feels that the City should provide a general fund transfer but the hangar owners should contribute to build a fund for improvements. Mareck suggested that the City could fund the operating budget out of the general fund and the hangar owners develop revenue sources to fund improvements.
Before any decisions are made, the group requested that MNDOT visit the City and speak to the economic impact of having an airport and help with discovering what methods are used at other airports for revenue and determining state aid funding differences between airports. The Airport Commission also wants to meet separately to discuss the issues before making any decisions. Mareck stated that he would attempt to schedule a MNDOT visit at 4:00 p.m., on August 21, 2007, before the next City Council meeting.
It was also questioned if there were possible revenue sources from Homeland Security and Mareck stated that he would check into it.
Labor Costs for the Airport
Discussion was held regarding the cost of the operation of the airport and comments made on how snow removal can cost $49,000. Mareck reviewed the presentation slide that explained the $49,000 amount is a percentage of salaries and benefits applied to the airport fund for the maintenance personnel, city administrator, city clerk, and administrative assistant. Mareck stated that these numbers would be reviewed again to ensure validity.
Hangar owners voiced concern over damage to their hangars during mowing being done at the airport. Mareck responded that he would contact the City’s lawn service contractor to use more care when mowing but also stated that hangar owners should contact the City immediately if they have damage to their hangars, which makes it easier to resolve the issues or file an insurance claim if necessary.
Quast motioned to adjourn. Mochinski seconded. Motion carried 4-0.