Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Budget crunch will delay airport extension

  • The city’s continuing budget crunch will cause a delay in the future extension of the runway at Hannibal Regional Airport.
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  • The city’s continuing budget crunch will cause a delay in the future extension of the runway at Hannibal Regional Airport.
    City Manager Jeff LaGarce was in attendance at Wednesday’s Airport Advisory Board meeting to explain why $23,000 in local matches have been removed from the 2014-15 city budget that is being drafted. The new budget will take effect July 1.
    “It’s a tough go,” said LaGarce, regarding the state of city finances. “We have no choice but to cut. It gives me no enjoyment.”
    After a $550,000 drop in sales tax revenue last fiscal year, the current fiscal year has not been much better overall. Despite a recent sales tax surge, LaGarce anticipates the city will have taken another significant monetary hit when the curtain comes down on the current fiscal year.
    “We will not recover $300,000 in the last month,” said LaGarce, regarding the 2013-14 fiscal year.
    LaGarce’s news was taken in stride by George Walley, chairman of the advisory board.
    “I understand having no matching money for the runway. It comes as no surprise to me,” he said. “Other airports are in the same situation.”
    Walley suggested there might be other ways of raising the money necessary for local matches, such as allowing companies to purchase “naming rights.” A similar campaign generated little interest when the new terminal building was about to be built in 2009. At that time an assortment of naming rights opportunities were available to those making donations of $100,000 or more.
    In December, the airport board finalized its Capital Improvement Program list. Five of the 11 items on the local airport's funding request list have to do with the city's desire to see the runway extended from 4,400 to 5,000 feet.
    Heading the list is the update of the airport layout plan (ALP), followed by an environmental assessment.
    Both are slated to take place this year. The revision to the ALP will cost $150,000 while the fee for an environmental study is $100,000. The local match for both projects totals $25,000.
    The remaining items on the list include the acquisition of necessary air space and land easements, the grading for the runway extension and the extension of the runway and parallel taxiway.
    The acquisition of easements is tentatively planned to occur in 2015. The grading would follow in 2016 with the paving taking place in 2017.
    The runway extension’s final three steps carry an estimated price tag of $6.3 million. The total local match would amount to $630,000.
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