Airport Share Of Power Line Project Funds In ’22 Budget

Photo: Kavin Koon (via Flickr;

Part of the Warsaw Airport’s 2022 budgets will go toward the city’s share of the cost of the power line lowering project.

Airport Manager Nick King presented his department’s two budgets to the Board of Aviation Commissioners Tuesday. They go before the Common Council at 6 p.m. Monday.

The lowering of the power lines to the east of the east/west runway has taken over 40 years. It is Phase I of a two-phase project, with phase II to be the actual physical extension of the runway. In 2019, the airport was awarded an approximate $7 million grant for the project, with the airport’s portion being 5% of the project’s cost. At the July 13 meeting, it was announced by Mary Kerstein, project manager for CHA Consulting Inc., the airport’s contracted engineering firm, that the grant finally had been received. A meeting has been scheduled with AEP (American Electric Power) for today to work on the agreement for the project. Most of the construction is expected to occur in 2022, Kerstein estimated.

On the first budget King presented Tuesday, the Airport Depreciation Fund (a capital improvement fund), he said, “We will be pulling all of the money out of that fund, which will be right around $310,000. We currently have $305,000. We’re counting on the revenue from the rest of this year’s fuel sales to take us to that $310,000, and that is going to be a majority of our share of the power line project.”

He stressed that fund is not tax-funded, but comes from fuel sales and the airport has been saving “quite a while” for that.

The second budget he presented was the General Aviation Fund. It totals $1,224,074 for 2022, a 20.81% increase from $1,013,206 in 2021. Part of that increase is the use of $80,000-$85,000 out of capital outlays “to cover the difference of the city’s share for the power line cost. So whatever our capital asset fund is unable to cover, it’ll come out of that fund, and then the money that is left in that fund will be used to repair one of our taxi lanes.”

Board President Jay Rigdon said, “Given the percentage change we’ve seen in the budgets last few years, I’m not used to seeing a 20-21% number.” He said a chunk of that was related to the airport’s share in the cost of the power line lowering project, “which we always knew at some point that was going to be a bill that was going to have to be paid.”

King said it was an increase, but it is only for one year.

Earlier in the meeting, Robert Lafayette, with CHA, reminded Rigdon and Board Vice President John Yingling of the 11:30 a.m. kick-off electronic meeting with AEP today. “So, at least for the construction project, we’ll have a better idea for timeframe, schedule and details. So next month, we’ll have a better update from a project update,” he said.

On the runway 1836 extension and improvement project that was started this year, Lafayette said Phend & Brown had a seeding company come out and they’re looking at some shoulder erosion issues they’re trying to resolve. King said some seeding and fertilizing have been done, and they were waiting for some of the storms to come through this week and they’ll look over it next week.

“As we work through some of the details on that project, we have a request into the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) about a grant amendment. As part of that project, we needed some additional soil stabilization that put us a little bit over the original contract,” Lafayette said. An FAA grant paid for the project. “… We’re probably about 95% complete with the project close-out. As soon as we can get that grant amendment in place, we’ll make final payments and close out the project.”

Referencing the shoulder work Lafayette was talking about, King said, “We had a few areas, just with the really bad rains we had earlier this summer, where the grass just did not have a chance to fully grow before there were some ruts that came in from the runway.”

He showed the Board some photographs of the problems, and said, “Phend & Brown has come out. They have basically taken this back to dirt, added more, regraded, rerolled and then installed the seeding and the fertilizer.” In one section, Phend & Brown put in a “straw roll that they have staked into the ground that will hopefully break up the water so it’s not coming off the runway quite as fast and prevent that from eroding here as we try to get some more grass seed to grow in that area.”

With the mitigation measures being put into place, Lafayette said it should work pretty well and reduce any additional erosion.

The last item Lafayette reported on to the Board was the Zimmer Biomet hangar door replacement. He said CHA helped out when it went to construction.

The original contract sum for the hangar door with Robinson Construction was $644,261.64. Robinson Construction was the sole bidder on the project.

King showed some photos of the progress of the project and said it was getting close to the end. He presented a pay application for $73,862.87, which the Board approved 3-0, with Dan Robinson abstaining. The balance to finish the project, including retainage, is nearly $442,000.

In other business, King told the Board:

• The county increased the rate structure for Hickman Ditch drainage fees July 22, which will go into effect in 2022. The airport has a number of small parcels that would be affected and he wants to have John Kimpel & Associates work to combine the parcels for an amount not to exceed $3,650. King didn’t need the Board’s permission to proceed, but he wanted to talk it over with them.

• He wanted to get a couple vehicle bids – a Ford Escape Hybrid to replace the airport’s Taurus, with a list price of $35,155; a Ford F-350 XLT with a list price of $60,915 to replace a 2002 Ford F-250; and a Ford F-350 XLT for a list price of $56,785 to replace a Model 2017 truck. With trade-in and government pricing, King hopes to get the vehicles for cheaper than their list prices.

• The Military Stand Down on July 23, hosted by Goodwill Industries, “went over with resounding success. They said it was one of the largest turnouts they had yet this year. So we were very excited with how it worked, the flow went really well.” He praised the Indiana Guard Reserve for their work and said they had a great set up. Goodwill already asked the airport to return next year, King said.

• An airport fly-in for pilots is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 24.

• Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) wants to have their fundraising event at the airport, working with Image Air, in November. Warsaw Police Department will help with traffic control and security. The airport will only set up the barricades and parking cones. King presented the parking and event plans, and the Board unanimously approved CASA to have the event at the airport.

• Due to Board members’ schedules, the September meeting date has to be determined or may be cancelled.