Finding flying fees
Saratoga Airport Board agrees landing fees needed, send wording back to attorney
September 19, 2018
Hangar leases and landing fees were the top topics of discussion during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Saratoga Airport Board at 1 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Saratoga Town Hall and was attended by multiple hangar owners.
The perpetual issue of hangar leases has been one discussed over several years and by multiple incarnations of the board. It was noted by town council member Richard Raymer, who represents the town on the airport board, at the Aug. 7 town council meeting that current fixed base operator owner (FBO) Bob Maddox and a handful of hanger owners were working on straightening out the leases.
Landing fees, meanwhile, have been discussed even more recently as the aviation traffic to Shively Airfield and Saratoga Jet Center has continued to increase. In fact, the roaring of two large jets overhead preceded the afternoon meeting of the airport board on Wednesday in what has almost become a daily occurrence.
A letter from hangar owner Andy van Tol had been presented to the airport board during their Aug. 8 meeting (“Hangar hangups,” page 3 of the Aug. 22, 2018 Saratoga Sun). Ellie Dana provided an update on van Tol’s letter as well as other correspondence the board had received since last month’s meeting. Dana stated that van Tol had gone through both the minimum standards and the private hangar lease and, in her opinion, had made several valid points concerning the language.
“So long as we agree we need a legal opinion, I believe Suzie (Cox) is going to take our comments from all the exchange and take them to the town attorney,” said Dana.
The rest of the board agreed that it would be best to give town attorney, Kylie Rangitsch, a chance to look over the proposed language from van Tol and others.
“I know the town council is ready to put this thing to rest. We’re kind of taking a step backwards by revisiting this,” said Lance Grubb, chairman of the airport board.
Grubb added, however, that despite the “step backwards” the board and hangar owners were still moving forward to putting the issue to rest.
When it came to the subject of landing fees, it was originally suggested that the board table the discussion due to Bob Maddox’s inability to attend the meeting. Board member Arlen Hughes stated he would like to do something for landing fees and Raymer agreed. Raymer added that his desire to implement landing fees was related to the amount of revenue generated for fuel flowage at the FBO, which totaled $272.80 for the beginning of the fiscal year.
“I did some research, I looked at Steamboat … they charge $50 for twin engines and up for landing fees. I would like to implement what we suggested was done up at Pinedale,” said Hughes.
As was also reported from the Aug. 8 meeting, Ralph-Wentz Airport in Pinedale charges a $75 landing fee for jets along with a $40 overnight fee while charging a $50 landing fee for turboprops along with a $40 overnight fee.
“Are you making a motion?” asked Dana.
“I’m making a motion that we implement what they’re doing in Pinedale,” replied Hughes.
Dana stated she would second that motion. Further discussion, before a vote was made, centered around how the board would collect the fees. Hughes suggested the installation of a point-of-service system inside the FBO building and paying the FBO a monthly administrative fee. Dana’s suggestion was for a stand-alone credit card machine that would not require pilots having to enter the building.
“I’m not opposed to what Arlen said just as a management fee. One, I would hope that they would be, in their traffic counting, that they would be accurate in making sure that those are getting used. If it’s a machine sitting on the counter, I would hope that the employees at the FBO would make sure all the pilots know,” said Raymer.
After discussion went back and forth on how to collect the landing fees, the board voted on whether or not to implement landing fees similar to those charged by Pinedale. Hughes, Dana and Raymer voted in favor of implementing fees while Grubb and Kim Lorenzen voted against the motion primarily due to the absence of Maddox from the discussion.
The next meeting of the Saratoga Airport Board will be at 1 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Saratoga Town Hall.